Toyota USA Foundation Increases Access to STEM Programs with $2.35 Million Award

Toyota provides grants to Project Lead The Way and National Alliance for Partnerships in Equity.

Toyota Motor North America is No. 34 on the DiversityInc Top 50 Companies list

Continuing its commitment to preparing teachers and students for the next-generation of jobs, Toyota USA Foundation awarded two grants totaling $2.35 million to Project Lead The Way (PLTW) and the National Alliance for Partnerships in Equity (NAPE).

The grants, announced at the annual North American Advanced Manufacturing Career Pathways Conference, aim to increase access to STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) programs throughout the United States and boost participation and retention of women and people of color in STEM careers.

“Persistent workforce gaps in STEM fields can be solved by increased participation and inclusion of diverse students,” said Mike Goss, president, Toyota USA Foundation. “These investments will impact elementary, middle, high school, and community colleges across the country, and represent industry and education coming together to better prepare the nation’s youth.”

PLTW was awarded $2 million to support approximately 115 K-12 schools throughout the United States. The grant will help with the implementation of PLTW Launch (elementary), PLTW Gateway (middle school), PLTW Engineering (high school), and PLTW Computer Science (high school) programs. The organization previously received a $1 million grant from the foundation to support 40 high schools with Computer Integrated Manufacturing courses.

“Toyota and the Toyota USA Foundation have been tremendous partners for many years, helping us engage and inspire students in their K-12 education and future careers,” said Dr. Vince Bertram, president and chief executive officer, PLTW. “Through the foundation’s continued support, we will train hundreds of teachers and engage thousands of students in PLTW’s hands-on, transformative learning experiences. These programs help prepare students with the knowledge and skills to compete in the workforce, solve challenges, contribute to global progress, and create a lasting impact on their communities and our country.”

NAPE received $350,000 to create promotional tools and outreach strategies for educators to use with students and parents at the K-12 and community college level. The organization also will partner with PLTW to increase the participation and persistence of women and people of color. The collateral, tools and strategies developed because of this project will be leveraged through NAPE’s current professional development activities being implemented across the nation.

“This award provides a unique opportunity for NAPE to equip educators with the student-focused tools they need to increase student awareness, interest, and choice to enter into advanced manufacturing STEM careers,” said Mimi Lufkin, chief executive officer, NAPE. “With such a wide scope, this grant can positively impact thousands of women and people of color.”

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  • Michael J. "Orange Mike" Lowrey

    Because it’s so much cheaper to do this than to pay American Toyota plant workers the kind of wages other American autoworkers get, so that they could afford better educations for their kids.

    • I’m publishing your comment because I respect you. But I think you’re completely wrong here.

      Of all manufacturers building cars in the United States, Toyota is average – $48 an hour. Mercedes Benz is the highest, Volkswagon the lowest.

      Toyota’s corporate citizenship is outstanding, what is not discussed is what they (along with Honda and Nissan) have given the average worker in this country – inexpensive, reliable transportation. 40 years ago, Japanese competition improved every car manufacturer’s game considerably – to the immeasurable benefit of every American who has to drive a car to go to work.

      I’m a car nut, I’ve owned antique cars since the 1980s. I own two GM antiques right now. GREAT cars, but there is no doubt in my mind that cars today are 100 times better and more reliable than cars from the 1950s and 60s. What’s the difference? Japanese manufacturer’s inexorable drive for constant improvement.

      I’ll give you one more example – Toyota operates a call center just outside of West Baltimore. It’s far less expensive to operate a call center in Iowa (where a lot of call centers are) – but they have a deep commitment to the people of the community – I’ve been there, I know their general manager (John Ridgeway) – and they treat their people beautifully. Mind you, I understand the people in Iowa need jobs too, but I’m pointing out the Toyota refuses to save a buck by cutting those people off in Baltimore.

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