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Toyota donates $200K to North Alabama school systems

Toyota Motor North America on Monday announced that Huntsville City Schools, Madison City Schools and Madison County Schools will receive $200,000 from the Toyota USA Foundation to help students with virtual education efforts.

This comes as many students are still in need of suitable electronic devices, such as laptops, and the quality, affordable internet access needed to complete schoolwork amid the COVID-19 pandemic and in the 21st century learning environment in general.

The funds from Toyota will go towards laptops and internet access for students, per a release.

“This is an exciting announcement for schools, teachers and students across our community,” stated Elizabeth Fleming, executive director of The Schools Foundation. “COVID-19 has strained school budgets tremendously as districts plan for in-person and remote learning for more than 55,000 students. The silver lining is seeing the community support for our schools and Toyota has been a tremendous partner in education from day one.”

The local funding announced on Monday comes as part of a national effort to help more than 350,000 students gain access to virtual learning in 13 states where Toyota has operations.

“All students deserve equal access to education,” commented April Mason, Toyota Alabama general manager. “The foundation typically supports STEM, but the pandemic has exposed deeper issues that are a barrier to good education.”

The company also debuted a new education hub, providing virtual tours, fields trips, STEM-based lessons and more.

This continues Toyota’s legacy of supporting education and workforce development efforts in North Alabama.

Toyota Motor Manufacturing, Alabama, Inc. has operated an engine plant for automobiles in Huntsville since 2003. Toyota in 2019 announced plans for the facility’s largest ever expansion. The facility last month was named by the Business Council of Alabama (BCA) and Alabama Technology Network (ATN) as a “Supplier of the Year” during the annual Manufacturer of the Year Awards.

Meanwhile, construction continues on the Mazda Toyota Manufacturing (MTM) joint venture in Huntsville. Hiring began on a rolling basis in January, with the original plan being to begin manufacturing vehicles at the new facility near the beginning of 2021, with full production to begin in 2022. However, the pandemic has reportedly caused this timeline to be pushed back. The state-of-the-art MTM facility is expected to represent an investment of $2.311 billion by the two companies.

Sean Ross is the editor of Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn

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