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Nonprofit plans to use grant to spark student's interest in STEAM programs

Toyota awarded the Aggie Academy and CIS of Randolph County a $500,000 grant for educational programs.
Credit: Toyota

GREENSBORO, N.C. — Work on the new Toyota battery plant, at the Greensboro-Randolph Megasite, is well underway. 

The multi-billion-dollar investment is months from it's grand opening.

But, Toyota is now investing in education in the Triad. 

"Toyota is a company with vision and they chosen to invest in that vision for the young people in this area," said Paula Owens, the Executive Director for Communities In Schools(C.I.S) of Randolph County

The nonprofit partners with Randolph County and Asheboro City Schools.

The goal is to help K-12 students, struggling with academics or behavior, stay on course. 

"Even when they are in first grade, they need to be accountable for their own education and they need to understand how valuable it is to them," said Owens.

Owens said they will be able to use this money to expand their programs to ensure student success.

She's also working to partner with the Aggie Academy at North Carolina A&T, the other local recipient of a Toyota grant. 

"There's a great symbiotic relationship there that's in it's early stages but we feel like has a lot of potential," said Owens.

Greensboro City Councilmember Marikay Abuzuaiter is grateful for Toyota's early investment in the Triad.

"It's very exciting for us to hear that Toyota is already investing in our community. This is very exciting to me," said Abuzuaiter.

For CIS of Randolph County, it's just the beginning.

"It's like magic what this can do for the students of this area and the possibilities it brings," said Owens. 

No word on when the money will be made available.

Owens says her team will be meeting to ensure they are good stewards with this money.

NC A&T plans to use the funds to establish the Toyota STEAM Lab in the College of Education. 

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