Gulf States Toyota and Janzen Toyota donated a 2020 Corolla to Meridian Technology Center’s Automotive Technology program this week. The donation is just one part of a growing relationship between Toyota and Meridian.
Students will be able to practice running diagnostics on the car and its new systems. “Toyota is now allowing us and our students to be able to get some of the same training that their techs get for light maintenance and repair,” said Automotive Technology Instructor David Shields. This opens the door to employment at Toyota dealerships like Stillwater’s Janzen Toyota straight after graduation.
Gulf States Toyota, the distributor for dealerships in Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Oklahoma and Texas, has a longstanding relationship with the Oklahoma Department of Career and Technology Education. Gulf States employees and John Day of ODCTE toured Meridian’s facilities this summer and talked with Automotive Technology instructors David Shields and Rick Carlile.
“They asked if we needed anything they could help us with, and we made a comment that we needed some newer cars to do the curriculum they wanted our students to do. Now thanks to Gulf States and Janzen Toyota, we are excited to be receiving this car,” said Shields
“Industry partnerships like this one help us ensure our students are graduating with the skills and certifications that employers are looking for,” said Dr. Douglas Major, Meridian’s Superintendent/CEO. “We value the industry experts and local employers who provide the input needed to make sure our graduates are workforce ready.”
“We are so excited to join forces with Meridian Technology Center on this endeavor,” said Juergen Janzen, owner of Janzen Toyota in Stillwater. “Being a locally owned dealership gives us the flexibility to reinvest in our community. This investment in particular will help develop individuals who want to pursue a rewarding career in automotive technology. These days it takes specialized training to work on the sophisticated onboard computers, high tech engines and drive trains. The modern vehicle is not your grandfather’s car. To that end we are thrilled to provide a brand new 2020 Corolla to help train the next generation of technicians.”
The statewide partnership between Gulf States Toyota and ODCTE has existed since the late 90s. Gulf States Toyota has assisted the state’s automotive and collision/refinishing programs by providing instructor training, donating equipment and linking dealerships with students looking to begin a career in the automotive industry. Two other tech centers have received cars in the past few months as well.
“The relationship we nurture helps provide multiple pathways for students with different career goals,” said John Day, ODCTE Trade and Industrial Education Technical Program Supervisor.
Day explained that students often go straight to work for a Toyota dealership, but Toyota dealerships can also sponsor students to pursue their Associate in Applied Science in Automotive Service Technology, Toyota Technician Training and Education Network (T-TEN) at the Oklahoma State University Institute of Technology. “Often, this sponsorship opportunity derives from a work-based learning opportunity between the local Toyota dealership and the local technology center,” he said.
Meridian Technology Center has been a driver of economic development since 1975. With a mission to educate, enrich lives and secure economic futures, Meridian offers full-time career training programs, short courses, Business and Industry services and entrepreneurial support to residents from the Agra, Carney, Glencoe, Guthrie, Morrison, Mulhall-Orlando, Pawnee, Perkins-Tryon, Perry and Stillwater school districts. Meridian is one of 29 schools within Oklahoma’s CareerTech system.