image: Toyota

A number of companies have prioritized diversity and inclusion efforts in recent months as hiring and job openings increase. On Wednesday, Toyota announced a partnership with three Bluegrass higher education institutions to help increase access to engineering degrees for underrepresented students as Wayfair plans to boost its engineering workforce.

“Building a stronger Kentucky will require deliberate and sustainable efforts to provide equal access to quality education,” said Susan Elkington, president, Toyota Motor Manufacturing Kentucky. “This program will give more people a chance to build great careers in fields like engineering.”

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Overall, Toyota is investing $1.7 million to diversify the engineering workforce with a scholarship program focused on creating opportunities for minority and female students. The company said students in the program will be provided full-tuition scholarships as well as the “needed resources to earn an engineering degree” from the University of Louisville or the University of Kentucky.

Bluegrass Community and Technical College is part of the diversity effort for students who opt to acquire an associate’s degree before enrollment at an in-state engineering program.

Over the next five years, Toyota said the scholarship program will select 35 students who will participate in a paid company co-op opportunity and receive mentorship from Toyota engineers. The co-op wages for students will be between $17 and $21, and the five-year timeline opens this fall.

“There is a critical shortage of women and minorities in the engineering workforce,” said Emmanuel Collins, dean of the University of Louisville’s J.B. Speed School of Engineering. “Toyota’s investment and partnership to help diversify our talent pipeline perfectly aligns with the university’s goals, and we are grateful to be a part of this collaboration.”

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On Wednesday, online home furnishing retailer, Wayfair, announced plans to open three engineering facilities across the U.S. and hire roughly 1,000 technologists. To start, the company said it will hire up to 200 employees at each of the facilities in Austin, Texas, Toronto and the California Bay Area. These initial positions include data scientists, analysts, experience designers, product managers, software engineers and infrastructure engineers.

“The roles will help drive a wide range of solutions, from cutting-edge machine learning and data science techniques that help customers find just the right product among more than 22 million items, to next-generation merchandising that fuels beautiful, inspiring product imagery, to platforms that enable suppliers to reach consumers more effectively and grow their businesses,” the release said.

In addition to these positions and Wayfair’s current staff of more than 3,000 data scientists and engineers, the company said it plans to hire data scientists and engineers for its global and European headquarters located in Boston and Berlin, Germany, respectively.

Interested job seekers can peruse the positions and apply on Wayfair’s careers page.