Toyota Motor Manufacturing of Texas launched a scholarship program in partnership with the Alamo Colleges that allows participants to earn a two-year degree and a paycheck at the same time.
It is unique opportunity for graduating high school seniors that is driven by a shortage of high-skilled workers.
"Since the plant started production over six years ago, we have never filled all of those jobs at our plant," said Chris Nielsen, TMMTX president.
The Toyota Advanced Manufacturing Technician Program, or AMT, is a two-year program that includes an Associate's Degree and real on-the-job experience at the plant on the south side.
A lab, funded by a $1.2 million Department of Labor grant, will be built at the Alamo Colleges Workforce Center for Excellence, 203 Norton St.
There, students will train in a variety of high-demand skills including hydraulics, pneumatics, mechanics and robotics. Skilled technicians are in short supply and high demand, according to the National Association of Manufacturers.
Those in the AMT program will spend two days a week in classroom or lab training on campus and three days a week getting hands-on experience at the Toyota plant.
And, they will get paid.
They will earn $12 an hour to start and potentially increase that wage to $16 an hour, earning about $30,000 over the two years. That's enough to cover tuition and more.
Intially, approximately 20 students will be selected.
Applications can be submitted through May 1 at www.alamo.edu/toyota.
Toyota personnel will select students based on academic success, math scores on ACT or SAT and participation in STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) programs.
The program begins in the fall.
Graduates will not be required to work for Toyota upon completion, but that is the automaker's primary goal.
"Then these students are job-ready," Nielsen said. "At the end of two years, they are ready to fill one of our jobs."