Above: Toyota Motor Manufacturing West Virginia presented West Virginia State University officials a $10,000 grant today to support a new effort designed to promote STEM initiatives to local middle school students. The Yellow Jacket Innovators: A STEM Career Series program will introduce STEM career pathways through immersive activity kits. Photo courtesy of West Virginia State University (West Virginia State University)
West Virginia State University (WVSU) and Toyota West Virginia are partnering in an exciting new effort to promote STEM initiatives to local middle school students. The Yellow Jacket Innovators: A STEM Career Series program will introduce STEM career pathways through immersive activity kits.
These types of careers are among the highest paying jobs and, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the need for STEM-trained employees is expected to grow by nearly 11 percent by 2030.
“This is a tremendous opportunity for West Virginia State University to partner with Toyota West Virginia to promote the importance of STEM careers in our local middle schools,” said WVSU President Ericke S. Cage. “Our education majors at the university who are entering the teaching profession can utilize this program to help create meaningful activities that will have a lasting impact. Thank you to Toyota for helping to make this program a reality. ”
Toyota presented WVSU officials with a $10,000 grant to help start the program as part of today’s announcement.
“Helping students immerse themselves in STEM activities is not only a great learning opportunity, but it’s a vital part of helping them prepare for the future workplace,” said David Rosier, plant president at Toyota West Virginia. “That’s why we partner with institutions like West Virginia State University – to foster that growth and ensure those within our communities have the tools and resources needed to live their best lives. Yellow Jacket Innovators will give students a unique opportunity to augment what they learn in the classroom and peak into the amazing work our team does at Toyota West Virginia.”
The activity boxes will be developed in partnership with Toyota and education majors at WVSU this fall, with the goal to launch and pilot the program with three area classrooms in Spring 2023. Boxes will include engaging STEM activities, an informational sheet about the associated careers, and a QR code where students can go online and learn from local Toyota employees about different manufacturing career pathways.
This initiative aims to improve STEM knowledge, science skills and attitudes, science interest and thinking, and STEM career awareness in participating WVSU education students and youth participants.