Toyota Motor Manufacturing Kentucky will start a $375,000 scholarship program for top students at Kentucky State University in Frankfort, officials announced Tuesday.
The five-year Toyota Engineering Scholarship program will tie in directly with its manufacturing operations in Georgetown, 21 miles from Frankfort.
"The auto industry in general has a shortage of talented engineers coming out of college," said Wil James, president of Toyota's Kentucky plant. "Young engineers need to understand that our Georgetown plant, with its robotics and cutting-edge technology, is the wave of the future."
Beginning next fall, Kentucky State will choose five freshmen from a pool of high-achieving math, science and engineering students. Those students will receive full-ride scholarships, the first three years on a pre-engineering curriculum at Kentucky State and the final two at the University of Kentucky. After those five years, the students will have an undergraduate degree from Kentucky State and an engineering degree from UK.
During that time, each student will work with mentors from Toyota, receive internships and other training at the Georgetown plant, and be considered for employment with Toyota after graduation.
Kentucky State President Mary Evans Sias said, "I am very excited about this opportunity for those of our students who want to pursue a career in engineering, and I am excited about continuing our partnership with a company that's respected the world over for its innovation. Toyota has been an excellent partner over the years and has demonstrated a high interest in the success of Kentucky State University's students."
Linda B. Blackford: (859) 231-1359. Twitter: @lbblackford.