University-Corporate Partnership Aims to Woo K-12 Students into Advanced Manufacturing

An Indiana university that hosts a Toyota manufacturing education program expects to see a boost in admissions with a new marketing partnership the auto company has formed with an online STEM hub.

Vincennes University hosts the Toyota Advanced Manufacturing Technician Program, which allows students to gain a two-year degree and paid work experience that could cover much of the education expenses. The program blends classroom instruction with on-site experience at the Toyota Manufacturing facility in nearby Princeton, IN. Students work 16 hours a week at the Toyota facility starting at $17 per hour. Raises are given based on grades and performance evaluations, and participants need to maintain a C or higher in all classes.

Although Toyota doesn't guarantee jobs after completion of the program, successful graduates are frequently integrated into the company, suggested a parent page on the university website.

To draw new students into the program Toyota has signed on with STEM Premier, the online hub, which connects students starting at about age 13 to colleges and employers. The students showcase their interests, experiences and talents through digital profiles, gain exposure to college and career resources and scholarships and make connections with schools and companies that can recruit them after viewing their profiles.

"As technology increases, so does the need for skilled technicians at our facility. Programs such as the AMT program do a great job at creating a qualified pipeline of skilled technicians who are job ready," said Terry Henderson, general manager of human resources at Toyota Motor Manufacturing Indiana, in a press release. "However, in order to maintain that talent pipeline, we need to reach high school students earlier and educate them on our programs and opportunities. That's why our partnership with STEM Premier is so important to our success."

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a former senior contributing editor for 1105 Media's education publications THE Journal, Campus Technology and Spaces4Learning.