A program that specifically recruits Project Lead The Way (PLTW) graduates was named the top Career Pathway in the U.S. by the National Career Pathways Network at the organization’s national conference this week. Toyota North America’s Advanced Manufacturing Technician (AMT) Program received the first place “Career Pathways Partnership Excellence Award.” The award, given annually to the top three career pathway programs, emphasizes the importance of career guidance and advising, professional development for educators, and the employer’s role in providing work-based learning opportunities for students.
The Toyota AMT program began in 2009 at the Toyota North American Production Support Center in Georgetown, Ky., in partnership with Bluegrass Community and Technical College. In 2011, Toyota began recruiting AMT applicants from Project Lead The Way (PLTW) high schools, finding that students who took PLTW in high school had the knowledge and skills needed to be successful in the program. Two years later, Kentucky’s success, particularly with PLTW graduates, led Toyota West Virginia to implement their own version of the program. Today, five North American Toyota facilities have begun the AMT program, and facilities in two other states are in the planning stages.
The AMT partnership offers high school graduates who have an interest in manufacturing careers a unique opportunity to earn a salary with Toyota while working toward an associate’s degree through a local community college. Students attend classes in electricity, fluid power, mechanics, and fabrication two days a week and gain training and work experience at the Toyota manufacturing facility three days per week. Students have the potential to earn up to $40,000 over the two-year period. A recent report by Toyota shows that 95 percent of AMT graduates are hired for a full-time manufacturing position.
Studies conducted by Toyota on the success of the program show that PLTW students outperform and are more persistent their non-PLTW peers. Across the cohort of program completers, PLTW graduates have higher grade point averages. Non-PLTW graduates have a dropout rate 300 percent higher than their peers who are PLTW graduates.
Dennis Parker, assistant manager at the North American Production Support Center and director of the AMT program, says recruiting students who have taken PLTW has become a best practice for finding the most qualified individuals.
“We get the best from PLTW,” Parker said. “We have found PLTW to be the best preparatory program in high school to make us a globally competitive manufacturer. PLTW’s high-quality curriculum and its development of students’ problem-solving, teamwork, and written and verbal communication skills is unmatched. Additionally, the national scope of PLTW means we can replicate our strategy across all of our plants. We very much value the engaging and sincere partnership with PLTW.”
“Project Lead The Way congratulates our partner, Toyota Motor Manufacturing, on being recognized with the Career Pathways Partnership Excellence Award,” said PLTW President and CEO Dr. Vince Bertram. “Together, through Toyota Motor Manufacturing’s presence as a world leader in manufacturing and PLTW’s world-class curriculum and teacher training, we are preparing our next generation workforce to succeed in the global economy.”
About PLTW Project Lead The Way (PLTW) is the nation’s leading provider of STEM programs. PLTW’s world-class, activity-, project-, and problem-based curriculum and high-quality teacher professional development model, combined with an engaged network of educators and corporate partners, help students develop the skills needed to succeed in our global economy. More than 5,000 elementary, middle, and high schools in all 50 states and the District of Columbia are currently offering PLTW courses to their students. For more information, visit www.pltw.org.