UPDATE: Toyota endowment will fund advanced vocational center

By Chris Kieffer/NEMS Daily Journal

PONTOTOC – Students from three Northeast Mississippi counties will soon be taking highly skilled classes covering a variety of professional careers.
A new $35 million facility to be built near the Toyota plant in Wellspring will house The Center for Professional Futures.
The center, which could open as soon as the the fall of 2013, will be used by students of the eight school districts in Pontotoc, Union and Lee counties.
It will offer a variety of professional career academics in such areas as computer graphics and animation, pre-engineering, architecture, legal studies, advanced manufacturing and health science technology.
The project was announced Thursday afternoon by the CREATE Foundation and the members of the Toyota Education Endowment Fund Advisory Committee.
“It is a game changer,” said David Rumbarger, president and CEO of the Community Development Foundation and a member of the advisory committee. “It will be something this region will be marked by in the future.”
When Toyota announced it would manufacture cars at a new facility in Wellspring, it promised to provide a $50 million endowment to be used by the eight school districts in the three counties that worked together to attract the auto manufacturer.
That money will be provided in $5 million installments over 10 years, starting next month.
Money from the endowment fund will be used to pay the operating expenses for the center. Funds to construct the $35 million facility will be sought from federal and state governments and from foundations.

Contact Chris Kieffer at (662) 678-1590 or chris.kieffer@djournal.com.

Read more in Friday’s NEMS Daily Journal.