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Automotive shop class is an institution in American high schools. Our car culture means there will always be jobs for mechanically-minded students, and everyone should know at least the basic maintenance for that machine so central to our lives.

But the engines donated to high schools are usually exactly what you’d expect – decades out of date machines past the end of their life. What can be learned from them is limited, in the end.

In what could be called an investment in the future of automotive engineering, Toyota Motor Manufacturing is donating 45 of their latest V-6 engines to seven schools in north Alabama. No clunkers, these. They are the cutting edge of what the motor company is doing.

“I think, the more we can get students interested in… the new technologies that are coming out, in terms of emissions and fuel economy and different things, they’re going to love it. They’re going to be ready to land a job somewhere,” said Jim Bolte, president of the manufacturing company.

Somewhere like Toyota Motor Manufacturing. Students at the chosen schools will graduate already familiar with the types of engines on the road today, and will have a grasp on where the industry is moving in the near future. That’s going to open doors to early jobs for them, which in turn could make further education more accessible. And they’re excited about that.

“There’s new technology every day coming into the automotive industry and I would just really like to learn some of that,” said Leslie Pitts, a sophomore at Tanner High School, one of the chosen. “And it’s all going that way, so I would like to learn some of it now to get me a little bit ahead of the game.”