NDPCN2toyotaUSAfoundationCLEMSON, South Carolina — The Toyota USA Foundation announced a three-year, $1.5 million grant for the National Dropout Prevention Network (NDPN) to support high school students interested in pursuing career-focused education in the midst of the country’s growing need for more skilled workers in the manufacturing industry. The Career-Ready System for High School Students will target up to 24,000 high school students in New York, Kentucky and Mississippi.

“Toyota is invested in paving pathways for student to careers in manufacturing to strengthen our nation’s workforce and economy,” said Michael Rouse, Toyota USA Foundation president. “We’re pleased to support the National Dropout Prevention Network in this important initiative to keep students in school and encourage education around STEM subjects.”

NDPN was one of eight nonprofits to receive grants from the Toyota USA Foundation for the summer 2015 funding round, which provided a total of $5.8 million in grants to support the teaching and learning of science, technology, engineering and mathematics. The Toyota USA Foundation grants ranged from $100,000, with NDPN being one of two organizations receiving the highest grants of $1.5 million each, over three years.

Partnering with NDPN on the project is WIN Learning, a Kingston, Tennessee, company that provides career-readiness solutions to help students prepare for their futures, whether they’re bound for college, trade school, a military career or the workplace. The grant will provide career and college-readiness software and professional development training in selected school districts in the aforementioned states.

The National Dropout Prevention Center/Network (NDPC/N) was established in 1986 with a mission to increase graduation rates through research and evidence-based solutions. The organization is based on the Clemson University campus in Clemson, South Carolina. Its resources, including the 15 Effective Strategies for Dropout Prevention, are utilized by many state agencies and school districts across America.

“We are honored to be the home of the National Dropout Prevention Center/Network, and to witness its impact on those students who, because of its efforts, are now high school graduates,” said George J. Petersen, founding dean of Clemson’s Eugene T. Moore School of Education. “We are also grateful for the generosity of the Toyota USA Foundation and their commitment to career readiness.”

The Toyota USA Foundation’s funding of the Career-Ready System for High School Students program recognizes today’s new model for career-focused education, which integrates academic and work-based learning with career exploration, guidance and relevant experiences that prepare students for the new economy. School districts across the country are embracing this model and tailoring it to meet the needs of their districts, all with the goal that career-focused students graduate with the skills and knowledge to transition toward their desired careers.

“Research has shown that integrated school-career programs like this one, along with the proper guidance and support systems, have a positive impact on keeping students engaged and in school through graduation,” said Sandy Addis, director of the NDPC/N. “We are tremendously pleased that the Toyota USA Foundation shares our mission to decrease dropout rates and to ensure that students are prepared in the specific, core and soft skills they will need in order to succeed in the careers they want to pursue. This project is consistent with the goals of both NDPC/N and Clemson University to improve graduation rates through innovation and service.”

The Career-Ready System for High School Students will launch in selected school districts in the three states in the fall, focusing on STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) and other skills needed to excel in industry. The project goals will be supported by WIN’s interactive software program and apps that will enable students to explore careers of interest to them while earning credentials aligned with industry standards.

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The National Dropout Prevention Center/Network (NDPC/N)
Established in 1986, the NDPC/N shares solutions for school dropout prevention through its clearinghouse function, active research and evaluation projects, publications, and a variety of professional development activities and conferences. Our website — www.dropoutprevention.org — is the nation’s leading resource in providing effective, research-based solutions for reducing dropout and increasing high school graduation rates. The NDPC/N is housed in the Eugene T. Moore School of Education at Clemson University in Clemson, South Carolina.