Right now, there's a significant need for skilled workers in the manufacturing industry. Thousands of workers will be needed by Mazda Toyota Manufacturing and other businesses coming to the Tennessee Valley. That's why the Toyota Motor Plant opened its doors to try and inspire the next generation of workers.
"I want to build the first hovering, flying car," 11-year-old Branden Parks said.
Parks has big dreams for his future. He absolutely loves cars and was excited when Big Brothers Big Sisters of North Alabama gave him the opportunity to tour Huntsville's Toyota Motor Plant.
"It's a really good opportunity for us both to see what's going on here," David Jones said.
Jones is Branden's big through the program. He says the tour not only showed kids what jobs are available at Toyota, but also that there are other options in their future besides going to a four-year college.
"Kids need options," Jones said. "It's a big opportunity for kids to see there's more out there."
That's why Big Brothers Big Sisters of North Alabama created a program that allows kids to be exposed to different jobs and companies.
"A lot of these kids don't know what's out there for them. They've never been in an environment to expose them to it. That's our challenge as an organization to expose them to their potential," the organization's president Mike Seagers said.
Toyota says they understands that need.
"If we can see these kids and expose these kids at a young age by the time they become juniors or seniors in high school, they can have different paths that they can look forward to," Manager Mike Hogan said.
Jones says he's thankful Toyota partnered with the organization and hopes it inspired Branden as he strives to become a mechanical engineer.
"We are the future for this plant," Parks said.
Toyota was the first company to open its doors to the Big Brothers Big Sisters program. The organization is now challenging others to step up in order to show what opportunities are available.
Companies looking to be part of the program can contact Big Brothers Big Sisters of North Alabama to join.
To find out how your child can be a part of the program or how you can help inspire the next generation of workers, click here.