Schools in Scott and Fayette counties and the Ignite Institute in Boone County will receive grants of up to $5.7 million from the Toyota USA Foundation to help prepare students for future science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) careers.
The grants, announced by the company on July 24, are part of the Driving Possibilities program that was created in 2022 and brings together educators, communities, and local and national nonprofits.
“The Driving Possibilities framework provides a holistic approach to ensure all children have equal access to opportunities and a pathway to high-growth careers,” Kerry Creech, president of Toyota Kentucky, said in a release.
Thomas Thompson, a division director in the Kentucky Department of Education’s Office of Career and Technical Education, said that Toyota is increasing awareness of STEM careers and preparing youth for future success, while also introducing them to opportunities in the auto industry.
“There are very few things more powerful than workforce and education partnerships driving innovation in education,” said Thompson.
Kentucky is the second state to launch the Driving Possibilities program. The program in the Commonwealth centers on three key areas, designed to expand literacy and language resources, build education and industry partnerships and address transportation barriers.
Arlington, Mary Todd, Northern and Russell Cave Elementary Schools along with Winburn Middle School and Bryan Station High School were identified as the grant recipients in Fayette County.
Demetrius Liggins, superintendent of Fayette County Schools, said he is thrilled with the partnership and the opportunities it will provide students.
“Our unwavering goal is to cultivate opportunities for every student and family by dismantling obstacles,” he said. “We look forward to this partnership and the impact it will have for generations to come.”
Billy Parker, Superintendent of Scott County Schools, told the Lexington Herald–Leader that the grant is another example of partnership with Toyota.
“We live in a community dedicated to education and continuous improvement. Working together, we will strengthen the Scott County Schools’ career and technical education pathways and remove barriers to education,” Parker told the newspaper.
The Ignite Institute in Boone County is another recipient of the grant. Principal Jerry Gels said the school will be able to “allocate resources and create opportunities for kids that otherwise would have a difficult time taking advantage of the opportunities provided by the school system.”