Toyota moving corporate headquarters to Texas

Alamo Colleges partnership could be model for company's future

SAN ANTONIO – Toyota announced Wednesday that it will move its corporate headquarters from Southern California to Plano, Texas.

"The biggest reason we're coming to Texas is the quality of life for our team members and our employees," said Toyota of North America CEO Jim Lentz. "It's important that there's good education, that there's a reasonable cost of living, that there's a reasonable cost of housing, that commute times are realistic. All of that bundled together really is the reason that we're here in Texas."

Construction of the new campus is expected to be complete by early 2017, and the move is expected to bring approximately 4,000 jobs to Texas. Lentz said the company currently has no plans to expand its operation in San Antonio.

"I'd love to say that we're going to be able to expand, but right now those folks are doing a great job. We'll just have to see where the market takes us, where fuel price takes us, where corporate average fuel economy takes us, and make some determinations down the road if there is some possibility for expansion," he said.

However, Lentz said the success of Toyota's Advanced Manufacturing Technician Program, a partnership with the Alamo Colleges, could serve as a model for the company's future.

"There's a definite possibility. We've had such success with that program, we're looking at how that can be expanded to other places, not only in Texas, but also other plant sites around the country," said Lentz.

"The program allows students to earn a technical degree while also receiving paid working experience and an inside track to manufacturing jobs. Dr. Michou Saint Hubert says the program has changed the lives of students and keeps talented minds in San Antonio after they graduate.

"It's a continual thing where they stay here, they learn their skills, and they immediately apply it in the workforce," she said. That's a beautiful thing and a beautiful model."