Toyota has announced a $1.7 million investment to increase opportunities for underrepresented students in Kentucky and assist them in earning engineering degrees. The investment comes as Toyota already has a strong engineering and manufacturing presence in Kentucky. To date, the automaker has produced over 11 million vehicles at Toyota Motor Manufacturing Kentucky, Inc. since the facility opened in Georgetown in 1988.
The program will provide full scholarships to female and minority students and the necessary resources to earn an engineering degree from either the University of Kentucky (UK) or the University of Louisville (UofL). Bluegrass Community & Technical College (BCTC) is also part of the collaboration with students first acquiring a two-year degree before enrolling in an engineering program in the commonwealth.
“Building a stronger Kentucky will require deliberate and sustainable efforts to provide equal access to quality education,” said Susan Elkington, president, Toyota Motor Manufacturing Kentucky. “This program will give more people a chance to build great careers in fields like engineering. Toyota is committed to providing resources, time, and knowledge to help build stronger communities in which we operate. We’re thankful for great education partners that have the same mission.”
“Toyota has been a long-time partner of UK since locating in Kentucky nearly 35 years ago,” added Rudolph Buchheit, UK College of Engineering Dean. “This is another example of Toyota seeing a need and stepping up to do something about it. It’s imperative to increase gender and ethnic diversity among our faculty, staff, and students.”
Scholarships & Opportunities
Beginning in the fall of 2021, 35 students over a five-year period will be selected to receive full–tuition scholarships. The students will also be mentored and trained by Toyota engineers and participate in a paid opportunity with the automaker earning anywhere from $17 to $21 per hour. Additionally, students will complete two to three co-op rotations that will provide hands-on experience in multiple areas of engineering.
“There is a critical shortage of women and minorities in the engineering workforce,” said Emmanuel Collins, dean of the University of Louisville’s J.B. Speed School of Engineering. “Toyota’s investment and partnership to help diversify our talent pipeline perfectly aligns with the university’s goals, and we are grateful to be a part of this collaboration.”