Local automotive students receive engine donation from Toyota

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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. - Some vital learning tools were dropped off for local automotive students early Tuesday - ten brand new, four-cylinder Toyota engines.

"The wonderful thing about these ten engines is, it allows us to have enough engines to where we have two students per engine," said automotive instructor Lewis Nall.

Nall said in the past, they'd have a full class working on only four or five engines and it was hard to keep students focused.

Now, with the new engines revving up students, they will be breaking the new ones down and rebuilding them.

Nall anticipates it'll take students a little over a week to complete the task.

"I have a pretty good confidence level, if they stay with me all the way through their associate's degree, they're going to be a good technician when they go out," explained Nall.

School officials said students are already excited about the opportunities the new Mazda-Toyota plant will bring.

"As I speak to students weekly, one of the things they are very familiar with is Toyota-Mazda coming to Huntsville," stated Career Tech Administrator Michael Romine. "And that it's going to be four thousand new jobs for our community. So a lot of our students are aware of that and they're looking at that as a potential career path for them."

Instructors said donations like these will help fill a growing need for automotive technicians in North Alabama.

"We're not producing nearly enough students going into these fields," Romine added. "We're going to have a 500,000 worker shortfall in middle-skill jobs by 2024 if we're not careful in producing more students for these fields."