LIBERTY — Toyota announced in late September that it would boost workforce readiness and exposure to STEAM education in the North Carolina Triad with donations totaling $1 million to expand education opportunities for students.
That donation will be broken into two, with $500,000 going to Communities in Schools of Randolph County (CiSRC) and $500,000 going to North Carolina A&T State University. In each case, the funds are designed to help strengthen STEAM education programs that support career readiness.
STEAM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, the Arts and Mathematics.
“We have 2,100 jobs to fill in North Carolina, so better preparing our next generation workforce is critical,” Sean Suggs, Toyota Battery Manufacturing, North Carolina (TBMNC) president said in a press release. “Toyota is committed to providing resources, time and knowledge to help build stronger communities in which we operate. We’re grateful for our education partners that share the same passion.”
Communities in Schools of Randolph County
“It is difficult to adequately put into words the magnitude of this gift to Communities in Schools of Randolph County,” CISRC Executive Director Paula Owens said. “This gift will enable us to serve more youth in our community with wrap-around services in partnership with our local school systems and equip us to launch a new program, Jobs For North Carolina Graduates, providing specialized instruction and experiences to support increased graduation rates and employability for our students.”
Grant funds will be used to support a variety of programs, including the launch of Jobs for America’s Graduates. Students will receive a range of services including but not limited to weekend meals, academic tutoring, financial literacy and mentoring.
Many students and adults in Randolph County enroll in A&T for training opportunities.
Toyota’s start-up grant will establish the Toyota STEAM Lab in the College of Education on NC A&T campus. The lab will be designed for K-12 learners and provide NC A&T Elementary and Secondary Education majors space to practice teaching with devices and technologies designed for K-12 student use.
It will also provide collaborative mentorship opportunities and projects between NC A&T students from all majors, Aggie Academy elementary aged students and the high school students located on campus.
“We are grateful that our friends at Toyota understand that the key to meeting the challenges of the STEAM workforce of the future is to invest in rich STEAM educational opportunities for students today,” Chancellor Harold L. Martin, Sr. said. “Today’s announcement is great news for the students and faculty of our Aggie Academy lab school, STEM Early College and the A&T Four Middle College. It is also a further illustration of what a great corporate citizen Toyota has become in the state of North Carolina. We deeply appreciate their leadership.”
Toyota recently announced an additional investment of $2.5 billion in its newest North American facility, TBMNC, resulting in the creation of 350 new jobs. This brings the Liberty facility’s total investment to $3.8 billion, creating 2,100 direct jobs.