With teachers, parents and school children across the nation struggling to figure out a way to stay safe and still get an education during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, several automakers have stepped up to help.
Toyota is revving up support for remote learning with a virtual education hub to inspire exploration of careers in advanced manufacturing. The hub includes a series of free STEM-based lessons and curriculum through Toyota USA Foundation partners and virtual field trips to many of its U.S. manufacturing facilities.
“Our goal with the Hub is to inspire many, including those from groups which are underrepresented in STEM jobs or those who live in communities where job opportunities are needed, to get really excited about a career in STEM, and maybe even get them interested in joining with Toyota to provide mobility for all," says Chris Reynolds, TMNA chief administrative officer, manufacturing and corporate resources.
Visitors can learn the science behind some of Toyota’s core philosophies that go beyond building cars and trucks. Visitors can also go behind-the-scenes at Toyota’s Research and Development center in Ann Arbor, Michigan. They can also step into the future at the Toyota Research Institute to discover how Toyota is building the future of mobility while harnessing the power of artificial intelligence to make driving safer.
Meanwhile, General Motors and Ford are donating millions of face masks to public school districts where students will be returning to at least partial in-person classes.
General Motors has donated more than 6 million Michigan-made masks to communities across the state. The latest 2 million are part of the State of Michigan’s MI Mask Aid partnership.
GM’s contribution includes 750,000 child-size masks for elementary students, which will be ready for delivery by Sept. 14, and 1.25 million adult-size masks for high school students, faculty and staff, which will be ready for delivery by Sept. 28.
GM decided to produce face masks in Michigan on March 20, as the coronavirus pandemic created a critical shortage worldwide. Today, GM’s Warren, Michigan facility has two production lines for face masks and a third line making N95 face respirators. To date, the facility has produced more than 10 million masks, with production going to employees at GM facilities or donated to community organizations.
To help provide face masks to the communities where GM employees live and work, the company is currently producing face masks in the U.S., China, Canada, Mexico and Brazil. In addition, GM shared its mask production plans with more than 300 companies through a collaboration with the Original Equipment Suppliers Association and the Michigan Manufacturers Association to help other manufacturers ramp up their own production efforts.
Ford Motor Co. is partnering with the state and the Federal Emergency Management Agency to provide four million free masks to Michigan residents who are most vulnerable to COVID-19. In all, Ford says it plans to produce and donate 100 million face masks through 2021 for communities across the U.S. with limited access to personal protective equipment.
Low-income residents, seniors, other schools and homeless shelters also will benefit from the MI Mask Aid partnership that is part of the Mask Up Michigan campaign.
One million face coverings from FEMA and 1.5 million from Ford will go to low-income schools, the City of Detroit, Federally Qualified Health Centers and some COVID-19 testing sites. Ford’s involvement makes MI Mask Aid a public-private partnership that can provide even more free masks.
Detroit Public Schools, which is open for in-person learning, will be the recipient of nearly a half million masks.