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The announcement yesterday of a partnership between the Toyota Education Endowment Fund and Mississippi State University to provide a course in development of web applications was overshadowed by city elections in New Albany and Tupelo.
But the long-term ramifications of the course, the first to be funded by the Toyota Endowment Fund, are significant and exciting. We predict it will be in high demand by students in the 14 high schools in Union, Lee and Pontotoc counties.
Students who complete the course will get three hours college credit and one unit of high school credit. The course, which will begin in January and taught by Mississippi State professors, will be offered by online video early on Tuesday and Thursday mornings and in person at the Toyota plant on Saturday.
Dr. Charles Garrett, senior consultant to the endowment fund’s advisory committee, said 25 students will be accepted for the course. Each high school will be guaranteed one spot and the remaining 11 will be drawn by lottery from the remaining qualified applicants. He said the course will be the “first of many opportunities that we are committed to bring to the eight school districts in Lee, Pontotoc and Union counties.”
That in our mind is the key statement. Garrett had found a way to begin offering sought-after courses to students and thereby building public support for creating the Wellspring Center for Professional Futures, the advanced vocational technical school proposed to be located near the Toyota plant.
Creating student demand by offering sought-after course work is the key to the center becoming a reality. The Endowment Fund Advisory Committee has taken a bold first step in that process.