It’s gotten their attention.
Students currently in high school will be part of the work force when the Mazda-Toyota manufacturing complex is up and running in the Greenbrier community in Limestone County.
Turning out 3-hundred-thousand cars and crossovers a year beginning in 2021, the joint venture plans to hire 4-thousand employees. They’ll be making, on average, $50-thousand a year.
WAAY 31 talked with students at one Morgan County career center that has a relationship with an existing auto maker already up and running.
At Brewer High School’s automotive technology program, WAAY 31 caught up with two seniors working on a 5.7 litre V8. Toyota’s existing engine plant in Huntsville donated the engine.
Over the past four years, Toyota Motor Manufacturing has donated more than a dozen brand new engines straight off its Huntsville assembly line.
That gives these auto tech students hands-on experience.
“It’s great,” Will Margotta told WAAY 31. “Something that you can put your hands on really. It’s one of the newer model vehicles, one of the engines that come out of one of the newer model vehicles.”
The Mazda-Toyota joint venture is revving the Tennessee Valley’s economic engine.
By the time it’s full throttle, Margotta will be in the job market.
Despite the prospect of high-paying jobs making cars at Mazda-Toyota, Margotta is sticking to his plans.
“More toward the dealership, honestly,” he told WAAY 31. “I’m going to try and invest and get into a dealership as soon as possible after high school, with the exception of going to college and getting my two years, all my ASE certifications, become a master technician and go out into the work field from there.”
“I mean anything that comes through the door if it’s brakes, computer related, engine performance related, they pretty much just do what needs to be done,” Robert Bryson told WAAY 31. Bryson heads up Morgan County’s auto technology center.
Based at Brewer High, the auto tech program is nationally-ranked for the quality of its graduates.
Bryson’s thankful for his corporate donors like Snap-on Tools and Toyota.
He says these engines give his students a big advantage.
“You can only tear these things apart so many times and put them back together,” Bryson explained. “When the kids tear these particular ones down, not only are they disassembling and recognizing parts, they have to put them back together properly. They have to set the valve timing. They have to use micrometers to measure the piston diameter and the cylinder diameter. So, if you’re in a math class and you’re calculating, ‘What is the volume of a cylinder?’ well, we actually measure the volume of a cylinder inside an engine.”
“It’s very important to me because all through my life I’ve always been interested with anything with a motor on it,” Isaac Clifton told us. “Anything that would make me go fast. Or I could just have fun. So, I wanted to learn how it works and do it myself my own way and I could help people out. It’s really a blast.”
Clifton says as much as anything, Brewer High School’s automotive program has taught him the importance of a strong work ethic and professionalism: something he can take with him down any career path.
“Very confident,” Clifton said. “Every day in here, we’re constantly working. I mean we get it done right the first time every time.”
Will Margotta and Isaac Clifton aren’t kicking tires, so to speak, on career paths outside auto technology. But, they’re excited about the opportunities Mazda-Toyota will open up for their friends and families.
Some grads from the program at Brewer High have gone on to work at Toyota’s engine plant.
And countless more have rewarding careers in automotive technology.