Toyota Donates Vehicle to Automotive Program

Career Center automotive receives donated vehicle
By: Todd Martin
This was not the usual school supply donation.
Toyota of Killeen, along with Gulf States Toyota donated a 2019 Corolla on Friday to the Killeen ISD Career Center for its automotive program students.
Toyota of Killeen Parts and Services Director Jamie Oyler said the company works regularly with high school and college programs and that the Career Center has produced students who bring valuable experience to the mechanic shop.
“This gives students here something to learn from,” he said, “so they will know what they are working with.”
The local dealership currently employs three mechanics who are KISD graduates that came out of the Career Center automotive program.
“The tools and the facility here is the same as they use (in a dealership shop),” Oyler said. “It gives them a definite head start over others.”
Automotive instructor Jeremy Terry said the generous donation was evidence of a growing relationship between the specialized high school in Killeen and industry partners like Toyota.
“Having that technology allows us to teach modern mechanics,” he said. “This kind of support from dealerships helps to guide our program.”
The teacher said it was important for students to see that they get support from industry partners in the community.
Victor Irizarry, a 2021 KISD graduate who completed the automotive program at the Career Center is currently a technician helper at Toyota of Killeen and continuing his education at Texas State Technical College.
He came to see his former teacher and peers and got in on the donation celebration in the automotive shop at the school.
“This opened a lot of opportunities for me and for my future,” he said of the Career Center. The summer after his sophomore year, Irizarry worked in the KISD transportation shop, repairing district vehicles.
He finished three years of automotive education in high school and was one of 10 students from across the state chosen for Toyota’s five-semester T-TEN - Technician Training and Education Network.
“Everything we learned here,” he said of the Career Center program, “it is the beginning of what you will do in college and in the real world. They are preparing you for college and for life.”
Automotive and other Career Center programs, he said, help students confirm what career path they want to pursue. He plans to stay with Toyota and work as a mainline technician.