Toyota Mississippi, the automaker that produces the world’s best-selling vehicle, the Toyota Corolla, is not only making cars but also making a difference in the lives of local high school students. Through its innovative 4T Academy, a hands-on training program that prepares students for production jobs at Toyota right out of high school, Toyota is investing in the future of its workforce and its community.
What is the 4T Academy?
The 4T Academy is a partnership between Toyota Mississippi, New Albany School District, Union County School District, and the Appalachian Regional Commission. The program aims to provide juniors and seniors with the skills, experience, and confidence they need to move into high-wage careers in manufacturing.
The program consists of two components: a state-approved curriculum pathway in traditional high school classes and a simulated factory environment where students learn and train on the latest technology and equipment used at Toyota. The simulated factory, housed at the New Albany Center for Innovation, will include collaborative classroom space, electric and pneumatic tool-training stations, a simulated vehicle production line, virtual reality simulators, cobots (collaborative robots), and many other high-tech components.
Students who enroll in the 4T Academy will also have the opportunity to earn an hourly wage while working on the production floor at Toyota Mississippi during their senior year. There, they will get certified and work alongside industry experts to build the Toyota Corolla. Upon graduation, students will have the option to continue working at Toyota or pursue further education or training.
Why is the 4T Academy important?
The 4T Academy is important for several reasons.
- First, it addresses the skills gap in the manufacturing sector, where employers struggle to find qualified workers who can operate advanced machinery and technology. By exposing students to real-world scenarios and challenges, the 4T Academy prepares them for the demands and expectations of modern manufacturing.
- Second, it provides students with a clear and attainable career path that does not require a four-year college degree. Many students may not be interested in or able to afford college but still want a fulfilling and well-paying job. The 4T Academy gives them that option by connecting them to living-wage employment opportunities right in their backyard.
- Third, it benefits the local community by creating a pipeline of talent that can support the economic growth and development of the region. Toyota Mississippi is one of the largest employers in Northeast Mississippi, with over 2,000 team members and more than $1 billion invested in its facility. By partnering with local schools and organizations, Toyota is showing its commitment to improving the quality of life and education for its neighbors.
How can you learn more about the 4T Academy?
If you want to learn more about the 4T Academy, you can visit the CREATE Foundation website, which administers the Toyota Wellspring Fund that supports public education in Pontotoc, Union, and Lee counties.
The 4T Academy is an example of how Toyota Mississippi is creating a world-class workforce by investing in its people and its community. By providing high school students with a unique opportunity to learn and earn, Toyota empowers them to achieve their career goals and dreams.