Tag Archive for: Toyota Wellspring Education Fund

NEMiss.News IMPACTO logo



New Albany School District and Union County School District announced an innovative partnership on Tuesday, December 14, 2021.  The announcement was made during a formal press conference at the Magnolia Civic Center in downtown New Albany.

Union County School District is officially now a part of the IMPACTO Internship program that New Albany School District began in 2018.

IMPACTO stands for Industry as a Means to Prepare for Academic, Career, and Technology Opportunities.  It is a culminating career awareness project for high school juniors and seniors.  This two-year program of study, includes a career readiness class, possible industry certifications and dual enrollment classes, and a 100-hour summer internship project.

Major support for the internship project will come from CREATE, Toyota Wellspring Education Fund, Three Rivers Planning & Development District, and the Mississippi Partnership.

New Albany High School has had over 60 students complete the program since its inception in 2018 and currently has 52 students preparing for their internship in the Spring and Summer of 2022.  Union County School District will offer the internship program at all four schools and plans to serve 24 students during the Spring 2022 semester.

“New Albany School District had done a remarkable job of creating an impressive internship program for high school students and has received attention from school districts, as well as business and industry over the past three years,” said Russell Taylor, Superintendent of Union County School District.  “We are proud to be a partner in the IMPACTO program and are excited for our students and the benefits this opportunity will bring them.”

“The two school districts have a set of goals in common related to career exploration and workforce development for students in grades PreK-12th grade,” said Dr. Lance Evans, Superintendent of New Albany School District.  “This is just the beginning of many wonderful partnerships to come as we work together to make career exploration and awareness, as well as workforce development as one of the cornerstones of K-12 education in New Albany and Union County School Districts.”

Melanie Shannon
New Albany Schools
“Preparing ALL for Success

New Albany MS NAMS YouScience assessment

The results are in! Eighth graders at New Albany Middle School (NAMS) have completed the YouScience Snapshot assessment this month.

YouScience is a great way for students to learn more about themselves, explore high-demand careers that are a good fit for them, and gain a better understanding of how their unique talents are needed in our economy.

YouScience Snapshot combines five aptitude assessments plus an interest survey. “This amazing assessment gives students the opportunity to be matched to a career that best fits their unique talents and interests,” said Suzy Bowman, Career Coach for the New Albany School District (NASD).

Bowman recently reviewed the results with 8th graders at NAMS and explained to them how these results could help them be more strategic in planning what vendors they will visit with during the “Imagine the Possibilities Career Expo” in October.

This assessment is designed to help students make informed career decisions. Each student in the PUL Alliance had a YouScience code purchased for them with funding for the codes provided by the Toyota Wellspring Education Fund.

“We appreciate CREATE and the Toyota Wellspring Education Fund giving all of our students so many opportunities for career exploration and career readiness,” said Dr. Lance Evans, NASD Superintendent.

Parents and guardians who have students in the 8th grade at NAMS can make sure their child is on a path to success with a solid plan for the future. Snapshot is a great way for students to understand their strengths and learn how those strengths translate to real-world careers.Visit www.youscience.com/parents to learn more.

Plans are being made for students in grades 9-12 at New Albany High School to participate in the YouScience assessment. Most sophomores have completed the assessment and have received results.

Melanie Shannon
New Albany Schools
“Preparing ALL for Success”

student internships

New Albany, MS- Juniors and Seniors at New Albany High School (NAHS) are being provided opportunities that have the potential to open doors for their future careers. NAHS has worked to create summer internship programs for twenty-four students.

On Wednesday, March 20, these students were recognized and formally signed certificates to participate in a summer internship program. The Internship Signing Day and luncheon was held at Camp 106 in New Albany.

“One of the goals of our five-year strategic plan is to prepare all students to be college and career ready,” explained Superintendent Dr. Lance Evans. “For the past fifteen months we have met with business and industry representatives, as well as college officials to insure we are preparing all for success.” Evans explained that these internship initiatives include students who wish to go directly into the workforce or pursue different levels of education past high school.

IMPACTO Program aids Career Readiness

Thirteen students are participating in the IMPACTO program. IMPACTO (Industry as a Means to Prepare for Academic, Career, & Technology Opportunities) was developed by the New Albany School District in collaboration with local businesses and industries, Northeast Mississippi Community College, Blue Mountain College, and Mississippi Department of Education.

Students in this program completed a Career Readiness class in the fall and will complete two dual credit courses this spring. In addition, these students have gained certifications in WorkKeys and leadership courses. Skills and concepts learned in this class will prepare them for 160-hour summer internships.

student internships

NAHS Juniors (l-r) John Davis, Tucker Shannon, Eli Parks, and Baker Smith display their certificates following the Internship Luncheon and Signing Day Ceremony held at Camp 106 in New Albany on March 20. These students are all part of the IMPACTO pilot initiative.

Students participating in this program, along with their internship partners include:
John Davis, Hyperion Technology Group
Eli Parks, U.S. Corps of Engineers & Robbins Farms, Inc.
Tucker Shannon, Blue Mountain College Athletics
Katherine Gonzalez, Emerald Mississippi
Haley Holston, New Albany Animal Clinic
Akayla Martin, Creekmore Clinic
Jacob Hogue, New Albany Light, Gas, & Water
Eli Osgood, Friendly City Tire
Vanessa Castillo, North Mississippi Medical Center Ground Ambulance
Baker Smith, Engineering Solutions, Inc.
Jordan Kelly, Computing Technologies
Ruth Montgomery, New Albany Pharmacy & Solutions
Elashya Hatch, Cook’s Adult Daycare

Gateway Program teaches essential skills and aids career awareness

Ten students are participating in the Gateway program. The purpose of this program is to teach eligible youth essential job skills while providing career awareness and career counseling. Students have completed a three- hour training course that focuses on job essential skills to prepare them for their 60-hour summer internships. Students participating in the Gateway program include and their internship partners include:

student internships

Dr. Jessica Perkins of Perkins Dental Clinic visits with her student intern, Kimberly Ramirez, who is in the Gateway Internship program.


Jermiah Gardner, New Albany Police Department
Kimberly Valadez, Mission Rehab
Victoria Adsit, Creekmore Clinic
Kalen Chaney, Cook’s Adult Daycare
Myranda Cobb, Camp Creek Native Plants
Chessica Davis, KC’s School of Hair Design
Brooke Dowell, Cook’s Adult Daycare
Shelby Gray, Union County Heritage Museum
Kimberly Ramirez, Perkins Dental Clinic
Dai’Jon Pittman, Kevin Charles Fine Upholstery


Toyota’s Creating Your Future Program offers on-the-job experience

Kenley Olson internship

Kenley Olson, with Toyota Mississippi President, Sean Suggs.

Kenley Olson was selected to represent NAHS in the “Creating Your Future: Toyota High School Accelerated Production Program”. This selective program began in mid-January and will run through May. He will work twenty hours per week for fifteen weeks. Through this work/study learning program, he will learn lean manufacturing principles, efficient workplace organization practices, and problem-solving skills. Throughout this process, Olson will receive a variety of certifications as well as experience the production floor.

“It has been exciting to prepare these students for the internship process and to connect them to local industries where they can pursue additional training in their career choices,” said Suzy Bowman, Career Coach at NAHS. “We are so appreciative of the businesses and industries who have ‘bought into our vision’ and are hosting these student interns this summer.”

These initiatives are being sponsored and supported by Toyota Wellspring Education Fund, Three Rivers Planning and Development District, Toyota Motor Manufacturing Mississippi, Blue Mountain College, and the New Albany School District.

More about the Career Readiness program of NAHS: http://newalbanyunionco.com/students-successful-career-readiness-assessment/

IMPACTO (Industries as a Means to Prepare for Academic, Career, & Technology Opportunities) is an innovative, pilot program developed by the New Albany School District. IMPACTO provides Career Readiness classes to students and prepares them for a summer internship.

Students in the program are being exposed to a variety of careers in the different career pathways as part of their Career Readiness course work.  Suzy Bowman, the Career Coach for the New Albany School District, is helping plan and facilitate activities for the Career Readiness classes.

The IMPACTO program is partially funded by the Toyota Wellspring Fund, which is  administered by the CREATE Foundation.


Robert Garrett addresses New Albany HS students

Information Technology:  Robert Garrett, Network Administrator for the New Albany School District, recently spoke to students in the IMPACTO program at New Albany High School.  Garrett was the featured speaker for the lesson on “Careers in Information Technology.”

Law Enforcement: Liliana Castillo, with the New Albany Police Department, spoke to students in the IMPACTO program at New Albany High School on September 26.  Castillo discussed her career path from the standpoint of being a female, as well as serving the Hispanic community in being bilingual.  Her story of how she became a police officer was impressive.


NAPD’s Liliana Castillo addresses students on law Enforcement.

Calendar Skills: Students in the IMPACTO program at New Albany High School have recently been learning about calendar skills and the importance of time management and planning.  Calendars were provided by community ner BNA Bank to help with these activities.

IMPACTO students learning Calendar Skills, including time management.

The importance of planning is stressed in Calendar Skills.









Manufacturing: Students in the IMPACTO (Industries as a Means to Prepare for Academic, Career, & Technology Opportunities) program at New Albany High School participated in a student tour at Toyota Motor Manufacturing Mississippi on August 22. During the tour, students learned about the history of Toyota Mississippi and its facility, observed the manufacturing and production process, and learned about Toyota’s commitment to the community.

IMPACTO Toyota tour

front row l-r: Vanessa Castillo; Suzy Bowman, Career Coach; and Eli Osgood; back row l-r: Rodney Spears, Career & Technical Director; Malcolm Steele; Baker Smith; Jordan Kelly; Ruth Montgomery; Haley Holston; Akayla Martin; Jacob Hogue; E’laysha Hatch

Leadership Skills: Steven Paul and Rob Hodges from Metal Impact have been speaking to the IMPACTO class each week at New Albany High School. They provided each student with a book and journal to go along with the

Metal Impact’s Steven Paul and Rob Hodges spead weekly to students.

Melanie Shannon

Public Relations

New Albany Schools

Career Coach

The Toyota Wellspring Education Endowment Fund at the CREATE Foundation is a $50 million gift created to perpetually enhance education in the eight school districts in Pontotoc, Union, and Lee (PUL) counties.

The primary focus of the fund is career awareness and readiness. The most recent initiative, via the Wellspring Fund, provides 11 Career Coaches to 14 high schools in the eight PUL school districts. The Career Coaches will help develop the most career-aware graduates, preparing students for postsecondary education and training.

Career Coach responsibilities will include guidance to define students’ career aspirations, certifications, apprenticeships, and workforce training. Additionally, Career Coaches will support students in achieving their educational, career and financial goals while complementing existing school site programs and industry partnerships.

The Career Coach will be responsible for documentation of student/parent/community interaction, networking for business partnerships, and additional training prior to and during the school year.

During the weeks of June 18-26, 2018, the Career Coaches participated in the onboarding process for the upcoming school year. Training included norming procedures for student and school interaction and support, as well as the creation of data templates and presentations to engage parents and students. Additionally, tours of various manufacturing sites coordinated by the Community Development Foundation, and labor market and occupational trends were shared by Three Rivers Planning and Development District.

The Career Coaches will begin engagement by visiting school site personnel prior to the start of the school year. Career Coaches will also speak to various industry and business leadership groups, garnering collective support and networking for the program.

During the school year, the Career Coaches’ targeted student group will be sophomores, yet the Career Coaches will also work with eighth graders, in preparation for and following the Imagine the Possibilities Career Expo. Further, the Career Coaches will serve as a liaison supporting the career goals of all students in the PUL Districts.

Suzy Bowman has been hired as a full-time Career Coach for New Albany High School. Bowman, along with her husband Bo, has almost twenty years of experience as owners and operators of Bowman’s Tennis Shop. Suzy has served as Head Tennis Coach at New Albany High School for four years. Most recently, she has worked as a recruitment coordinator for Three Rivers Planning & Development District. This work experience will greatly benefit her as she works with students and industries. She earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology from Blue Mountain College in 2018.

“We are excited to have Suzy join our district as Career Coach,” said Lance Evans, superintendent. “Her experience as an entrepreneur and her experiences with Three Rivers Planning and Development will be an asset to our schools as we work toward insuring our students are prepared to excel in college, careers, and life.”

Evans added that Bowman will work closely with the IMPACTO (Industries as a Means to Prepare for Academic, Career, and Technology Opportunities) program. IMPACTO is a pilot program that will be implemented during the 2018-2019 school year for selected juniors. The program will include career readiness classes, internships, and possibly national certifications and/or dual enrollment opportunities.


A report about an education trust fund and  a plea for money for a mental health program were heard at Monday morning’s Union County board meeting.

BNA Bank Vice President Mike Staten introduced Mike Clayborne president of the CREATE Foundation of Tupelo. CREATE is the administrator of the $50-million Toyota Wellspring Education Fund, which was established to benefit the education of K-12 students in Union, Pontotoc and Lee counties. The $50-million gift, payable over a period of ten years, was announced by Toyota executives at the 2007 groundbreaking of the company’s new manufacturing plant near Blue Springs in eastern Union County.

Clayborne said earnings from the fund had been used during the last year to enhance career awareness for students in the eight school districts which are beneficiaries of the fund. He said funds have also been used for professional development opportunities for educators and administrators, including a recent trip to Columbus, Indiana. Staten represents Union County on the advisory board of the Toyota Education Fund.

Ricardo Fraga, chief executive officer of Lifecore Health Group and the Region III Mental Health Center in Tupelo, told the board state funding for Region III had been cut during the recent legislative session. He asked for more funding help from Union County. The Board of Supervisors appropriated $23,500 for Region III during the current fiscal year. According to CBS News, the legislature and governor cut funding for mental health services in Mississippi by more than 10 percent for the coming 2017 fiscal year.