Learning to Work

As we are at the cusp of the school season, as many students get ready to get back to what they think is a drudge now, but which they’ll undoubtedly look back on with wistful fondness, we’d like to give some credit to the Toyota USA Foundation for investing $5.8-million in the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education of high school and adult students. (Seems that too often the adult students are overlooked, as though they don’t need any assistance, which is ostensibly not the case.) What’s interesting about this investment from the foundation is that it is wide-ranging in scope.

As we are at the cusp of the school season, as many students get ready to get back to what they think is a drudge now, but which they’ll undoubtedly look back on with wistful fondness, we’d like to give some credit to the Toyota USA Foundation for investing $5.8-million in the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education of high school and adult students. (Seems that too often the adult students are overlooked, as though they don’t need any assistance, which is ostensibly not the case.)

What’s interesting about this investment from the foundation is that it is wide-ranging in scope.

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That is:

· $935,000 (over three years) are going to the Drucker School of Management at Claremont Graduate University to prepare women in supply chain and logistics skills and capabilities.

· $441,190 are going to the Center for Science Teaching and Learning in Rockville Centre, NY, for the purpose of assisting “disengaged youth in finding employment through STEM-based manufacturing careers.” Getting kids engaged—and employed—is essential for their future, and arguably ours.

· $1,500,000 over three years are going to the National Dropout Prevention Network. In this case they’re going to be introducing 24,000 students to STEM and manufacturing careers through online content and there will be coaching for teachers so they can do this personally. The students are located in New York City and rural Kentucky and Mississippi.

· $1,500,000 over three years are going to the Hot Bread Kitchen in New York City. This is to create career opportunities for immigrant and minority women by expanding a paid culinary workforce development program. After all, manufacturing and STEM jobs need nourishment, too.

And there’s more.

The whole notion of getting young people and even adults interested in manufacturing is something that gets a lot of hot air and less cold, hard cash.

Many automakers are at the forefront of funding efforts, and they are to be lauded for stepping up for their support of STEM and other educational programs. After all, this is an industry that is predicated on making things, and if people aren’t interested in making those things in the U.S., there are a multitude of other places where there are people who are more than anxious to do so.