Kia Motors Manufacturing Georgia announced Thursday a plan to inject $900,000 over three years into the Troup County School System to boost hands-on, technology-based learning programs.
The money will go toward science, technology, engineering and mathematics, or STEM, education between 2012 and 2014. The SAE Foundation will use the funds over the next three years to provide services to the school system through the implementation of SAE’s kindergarten through 12th-grade STEM Education Program, called A World in Motion.
“A World in Motion will help provide students with needed hands-on resources to encourage learning in both science and technology,” said schools Superintendent Cole Pugh.
The curriculum gives students resources they wouldn’t have otherwise because of funding limitations.
“It makes it more relevant to them,” Pugh said. “It connects the subject with a future occupation.”
Randy Jackson, vice president for KMMG, said the program will help bolster the local availability of qualified workers for plants like Kia in the future.
“We are a long-term vision company. We look at, today, where is our current work force 10 years from now, 15 years from now, not just today,” Jackson said. “I can tell you right now that they’re sitting in the sixth grade. We’re hoping that this introduction today, this contribution introduces itself at that grade level, or close to it, so that we can close these gaps in education, or continuous learning, and these young adults will be prepared when they graduate school.”
Jackson said Kia wants “to see if we can move things forward in the right direction.” He added that the company hopes to continue making contributions in the region, preparing it for the future work force industries need.
“It’s a good day for Troup County education,” Jackson said.
Matt Miller, director of the SAE foundation and pre-professional programs, said the United States ranks 27th in developed nations in the numbers of scientists and engineers produced. AWIM will engage young people early on in science and engineering, before they get to high school and choose another career path.
AWIM reaches 70,000 students year, Miller said, and SAE is glad to add thousands of Troup County students to its curriculum.
“What we’re going to be able to provide to the teachers of this district … teachers make a huge investment of their own into their students. Students at this level spend $600 to $700 out of their own pockets on materials and supplies for kids to teach in their own classrooms,” Miller said. “So what we’re trying to do is remove that barrier, provide hands-on curriculum, activities and supplies, and training the teachers so we can invest in these young people, because they will be the future work force. And investments from companies like Kia make sure that they do that.”