School district and Toyota manufacturing plant team up for new vocational training program


KANAWHA COUNTY, W.Va. (WSAZ) – Students in Kanawha County will soon have the chance to join a program unique to West Virginia.

At the start of the next school year, county juniors and seniors can participate in a two-year manufacturing program in partnership with the Toyota Motor plant in Buffalo, West Virginia.

“With this program, it allows us to jump over that hoop and gives our students the opportunity to be hired full-time with a good income and good benefits,” said Nicole McCartney, assistant principal at the Ben Franklin Career Center.

Although this is a first in West Virginia, it is not a new program.

Toyota factory spokesman George Gannon said it was first tried out in Indiana.

“It worked so well there to bring kids from the school system into the manufacturing plants and learn about the broader educational options that are available with advanced manufacturing. We wanted to do something similar in West Virginia,” Gannon said.

There are eight high schools in Kanawha County. McCartney said they went to each of them to talk about this program.

She added that it’s important for students to know they can live in West Virginia and earn a good living.

“We need to let our children know what work opportunities are available to them,” she said. There are good paying jobs here in our state that can keep them here and raise their families.

Gannon says the first class will have around 20 students, but that could change as the year progresses.

In a few weeks, the students will have the chance to visit the factory. After that, the application process will open.

Interested persons should contact their school counselor.

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