09/09/09 — Toyota makes donation to WCC

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Toyota makes donation to WCC

By Phyllis Moore
Published in News on September 9, 2009 1:46 PM

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From left, David Bliskey and Joseph Smith Jr., service training specialists with Southeast Toyota Distributors, present nearly $25,000 in training aids to Craig Foucht, department head/instructor of automotive programs at Wayne Community College, and Ernie White, division head of applied technology. In addition to a 2003 Toyota Avalon, the donation included a 5.7 liter V-8 engine and six-speed automatic transaxle.

Automotive students at Wayne Community College received an estimated $25,000 worth of state-of-the-art training aids this week, courtesy of Southeast Toyota Distributors based in Florida.

Joseph Smith Jr., service training specialist, visited the college to make the presentation on behalf of local area Toyota dealers Tuesday.

Smith is a former resident of Goldsboro, having been previously stationed at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base. He said he was pleased to be able to support the college's program.

"Southeast Toyota recognizes the importance of training tomorrow's technicians with applicable, current technology to better enhance these future technicians to successfully contribute to their community's work force," he said.

Included in the donation were a 5.7 liter V-8 engine, a Toyota-specific diagnostic scan tool and six-speed transaxle.

This is not the first time Toyota has made such a donation, though, said Craig Foucht, department head/instructor of automotive programs.

"In the last year, they donated a 2003 Toyota Avalon along with a previous generation scan tool and 5.7 liter engine out of a 2007 Toyota Tundra," he said. "They also donated some hybrid components, a transmission out of a Toyota, and a Prius hybrid and front axle."

Having current technology will greatly improve the program's lab environment, Foucht said.

"No. 1, we're not having to take in live projects," he said. "A lot of shops, even high schools, if they don't have training aids, they have to rely on vehicles from the public.

"This is not some type of hobby shop mentality. This is new current technology. So our students not only leave out of here with practical experience but current technology."

Smith said Toyota regularly makes such donations, predominantly to colleges like Wayne Community, because that's where students often pursue the vocational program. It will pay off later, as students pursue jobs in the field.

"They can tie together the lecture material in a hands on environment," he said. "It solidifies the whole picture. Even in a recessed economy, people are going to eat and drive a car."