Wellspring editorial off the mark

I would like to respond to the recent editorial article regarding the Wellspring Center for Professional Futures. 

In particular, I would like to address the following quote; “We translate ‘advanced manufacturing’ to mean training folks to work at Toyota.”   That is simply not the case.
As the senior consultant to the Wellspring Center, my directive is to develop a program that meets Toyota’s charge to “enhance” not “supplement” educational opportunities for the students in the PUL Counties.  We have stayed true to that objective.  I think the editorial may have confused the Wellspring Center for Professional Futures project with the recently announced Advanced Manufacturing Technician (AMT) program at ICC, which is a degreed training program that will produce highly skilled maintenance technicians to work in manufacturing. 
The Wellspring Center concept is designed to expose high school juniors and seniors to lifelong professional careers that have a promising future.  The center will provide a nontraditional school environment and will focus on hands-on learning.  It will not be a training center, nor will it grant any degrees. 
The curriculum that will be offered at the center will be an addition to any curriculums offered in the eight school districts in Pontotoc, Union and Lee Counties.  It is modeled after many similar game-changing institutions around the country.  Early and in-depth exposure to career options will help align student skills and interests with emerging careers in our economy. Ultimately, our students will find rewarding careers while family incomes in the area will rise from below the state average to significantly above the state average. 
I want to assure our community that the goal of the Wellspring Center is to give our students an edge in areas of highest paying career opportunities and not to train our students for any specific industry.

Charles Garrett
Senior Advisor
The CREATE Foundation