Toyota USA Foundation and California State University, Dominguez Hills recently announced that together they will tackle workforce readiness issues head-on, creating a new Toyota Center for Innovation in STEM Education (Toyota Center) to inspire learning for students from kindergarten through college.
Toyota USA Foundation’s $4 million grant will support the design, construction, and equipment for a new 87,000+ square foot science and innovation building on the CSU Dominguez Hills campus, which will house the Toyota Center. It will include a fabrication lab, labs for K-12 teacher demonstrations and training, SMART classrooms, collaborative workspaces, and an outdoor workspace.
“The center will help further science, technology, engineering, and mathematics teaching, learning, research, and ‘making’ that is critical to the future of California’s youth, the region, and the nation,” said Mike Goss, president, Toyota USA Foundation. “Investing today to provide hands-on, creative experiences that create excitement for STEM careers is critical to America’s advanced manufacturing future.”
“We want this new facility to help support students of the South Bay and Los Angeles so that they can be prepared for the next generation of jobs,” Goss added.
Toyota Motor Sales committed an additional $750,000 toward construction of mobile trailers equipped with tools and technology, such as laser cutters to create 2D and 3D structures, 3D printers, and electronic components for prototyping projects. These mobile fab labs pulled by four Toyota Tundra trucks will travel throughout the South Bay and the greater Los Angeles region to serve local schools, bringing the learning to students, educators, and communities.
“The new center will be a key resource for the university, directly impacting academic success and strengthening the region’s future STEM workforce,” said CSU Dominguez Hills President Willie Hagan. “We are honored to be working with such a forward-thinking community partner as Toyota. Educators are constantly adapting to new, innovative technology and processes to prepare students for success in our global society. The Toyota Center and mobile fab labs will provide leading tools for the development of creative academic programs and innovative curricula in line with the Next Generation Science Standards and Common Core State Standards.”
The U.S. Department of Labor estimates that by 2018 there will be more than 1.4 million new STEM-related jobs that could go unfulfilled. According to the California Teachers Association, “California’s demand for new math and science teachers in the next 10 years is expected to be over 33,000 and the current rate of new math and science teachers cannot come close to meeting that need.” In fact, in 2014 CSU Dominguez Hills received a $12.45 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education to train highly qualified secondary math and science teachers to help improve student achievement in the Los Angeles Unified School District.
The mobile fabrication labs are expected to begin arriving in May 2017. Groundbreaking for the science and innovation building is expected in the fall of 2017.