Montgomery, Ala. September 27, 2023  – As part of its Community Relations program, Hyundai Motor Manufacturing Alabama (HMMA) teamed up with Auburn University’s Southeastern Center of Robotics Education (SCORE) to start the Hyundai Initiative for Robotics Excellence (HIRE). HIRE began in Montgomery County and was expanded to include Autauga County earlier this year. This week, educators from SCORE are in Prattville, Ala. providing teachers from Autauga County Schools with the training they will need to instruct students in the HIRE program-sponsored robotics courses during the upcoming school year.

During the training, held September 25-28, 2023, the teachers will learn not only what’s needed to run a robotics program, but also how robotics can help support a school’s overall objectives. “We’ll talk about the Alabama Digital Literacy and Computer Science Standards that are in effect for all students K-12 in the state of Alabama,” said Jennifer Spencer, Assistant Director of SCORE. “Robotics is a great way to address those standards. We’ll talk about every subject over the course of these four days.”

HIRE is the result a multiple grants made by HMMA over the past several years, with the goal of establishing robotics teams at local schools to seed the next generation of a technically proficient workforce. HMMA’s initial $70,000 donation in January 2020 established robotics teams at all 10 public middle schools in Montgomery, Alabama. In January 2022, HMMA presented a second donation for $78,800 to expand robotics programs to all eight of Montgomery’s public high schools. Earlier in 2023, HMMA gave $100,000 as the presenting sponsor of the 2023 SCORE Showdown, a premier VEX robotics competition held in LaGrange, Ga. Most recently, in August, HMMA donated $114,000 to expand HIRE into Autauga County. These donations bring HMMA’s total investment in local robotics education to more than $363,000.

“HMMA’s financial investment and collaboration with Auburn University’s Southeastern Center of Robotics Education and the Montgomery Public School System and its participating teachers have created robotics teams in every elementary, middle and high school in the system. It’s been a huge success. Students of all ages in Montgomery are now learning valuable skills in science, technology, engineering and math or STEM. No matter what career path they choose, from chef to mechanical engineer, these skills will make them more successful and adaptive,” said Scott Posey, Manager of Public Relations at HMMA. “Now it’s time to expand these opportunities to the students in neighboring Autauga County which we couldn’t do without the support of the Autauga County Public School System, SCORE, and of course the teachers who are training this week to lead and coach the new teams.”

Autauga County has 12 schools that include pre-kindergarten through 12th grade, most of which did not offer robotics programs prior to HIRE. HIRE Autauga will be implemented in these schools across the 2023-2024 and 2024-2025 school years. Schools will receive VEX classroom robotics kits or VEX robotics competition kits and the necessary competition materials.

“Right now, we’re doing elementary and middle school. Next year, we’ll move on to high school and be able to reach Autauga County students from first grade all the way to 12th grade,” explained Krista Hawkins, Assistant Manager of Public Relations at HMMA. “What these students are learning now will have them prepared in the future for the workplace, and we hope maybe they’ll look for an opportunity to work in automotive manufacturing.”

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