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Toyota Mississippi Puts High School Students to Work

$1.9 million investment brings 4T Academy to local schools

Toyota Mississippi Workforce Readiness Forum
Toyota Mississippi Workforce Readiness Forum

Juniors and seniors at New Albany and Union County Schools will soon have a unique opportunity to learn and earn. Toyota announced Wednesday—in collaboration with local partners—the investment and launch of its 4T Academy, a hands-on training program designed to place students directly into Toyota production jobs right out of high school.

Toyota’s commitment of $1.9 million to implement this game-changing program is match funding following a grant awarded to New Albany School District and the 4T Academy from the Appalachian Regional Commission.

The announcement was made Wednesday at the automaker’s Workforce Readiness Forum where lawmakers, community leaders, and educators convened to address common issues and goals surrounding talent development, retention and educational support.

“The 4T Academy will provide our students the skills, experience and confidence they need to move into high-wage careers in manufacturing right here in their backyard,” said Erik Skaggs, president of Toyota Mississippi. “Imbedding innovative programs like 4T in our schools changes the landscape of workforce readiness and put students in the driver’s seat for their careers.”

Students enrolled in 4T will follow a state-approved curriculum pathway in traditional high school classes while learning and training in a mock factory environment to gain essential skills needed for production jobs at Toyota. This state-of-the-art classroom will be housed at New Albany School District’s (NASD) future “New Albany Center for Innovation”—an enhanced version of its current School of Career & Technical Education.

The 4T Academy will house a collaborative classroom space, electric and pneumatic tool-training stations, a simulated vehicle production line, virtual reality simulators, cobots, and many other high-tech components—all integral to developing talent while still in high school. Seniors enrolled in 4T will earn an hourly wage while on the production floor getting certified and working alongside industry experts to build the world’s best-selling vehicle, the Toyota Corolla.

“We are excited to work with Toyota Mississippi to implement the first 4T Academy in the Mississippi,” said Lance Evans, superintendent for New Albany School District. “As a result of this partnership, our students will be afforded opportunities that are very unique to our region. When schools and industry partner together, the results are meaningful to not only students and schools but families and our community.”

Toyota also made an additional announcement to gift $100,000 which will support the Center for Innovation as it undergoes renovation.

Toyota’s 4T Academy started at Toyota Indiana in 2020 while partnering with Purdue IN-MaC—a partnership that’s continued through its expansion to Toyota West Virginia in 2022, and plans to launch at other Toyota manufacturing facilities in the U.S. are under way. For more information on 4T, visit

About Toyota

Toyota (NYSE:TM) has been a part of the cultural fabric in the U.S. for more than 65 years, and is committed to advancing sustainable, next-generation mobility through our Toyota and Lexus brands, plus our nearly 1,500 dealerships.   

Toyota directly employs more than 49,000 people in the U.S. who have contributed to the design, engineering, and assembly of more than 33 million cars and trucks at our nine manufacturing plants. By 2025, Toyota’s 10th plant in North Carolina will begin to manufacture automotive batteries for electrified vehicles. With more electrified vehicles on the road than any other automaker, Toyota currently offers 26 electrified options.

To help inspire the next generation for a career in STEM-based fields, including mobility, Toyota launched its virtual education hub at with an immersive experience and chance to virtually visit many of our U.S. manufacturing facilities. The hub also includes a series of free STEM-based lessons and curriculum through Toyota USA Foundation partners, virtual field trips and more. For more information about Toyota, visit 

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