Keeping the Promise

The White House welcomes TMNA CEO Jim Lentz and team members to highlight commitment to American workers

July 26, 2019
Special Advisor to the President, Ivanka Trump, invited Toyota Motor North America CEO Jim Lentz and six team members to the White House Thursday afternoon to celebrate the first anniversary of the White House’s Pledge to American Workers.

Trump has traveled the country collecting signatures for the pledge, described as a call to action for companies to create more jobs for American workers by providing training and education. Lentz signed the pledge in March as Trump toured the Toyota Motor Manufacturing, Kentucky (TMMK) plant, committing to provide 200,000 training opportunities over the next five years.
Committed to Team Members -- Team members from across the company visited the White House Thursday afternoon to celebrate the Pledge to American Workers. Lentz signed the pledge last March as Special Advisor to the President, Ivanka Trump, toured the Toyota Motor Manufacturing, Kentucky (TMMK) plant. Pictured from left: Summer Valadez (TMMTX), Shameka Green (TMMK), Clifford Hensley, Jr. (TMMK), TMNA CEO Jim Lentz, Rebecca Sanchez (TMMTX), Brandon Gabriel (TMMTX) and Andrew Jackson (TMMK).

“We’ve made two major commitments to our team members,” Lentz said. “Number one is the $13 billion [investment in North America]. Thank you, Mr. President, for having such a strong economy for allowing us to be able to do that.  And that $13 billion is not only for the new plant in Alabama and the new headquarters we built in Texas, but it’s really to spend dollars in the areas of R&D and in all of our plants to make sure that our plants are the most competitive Toyota plants in the world.”

Secondly, Lentz highlighted the significant investments Toyota makes in team members’ professional development.

“It’s all about the development of our team members,” Lentz said. “And whether it’s development of the technicians in our dealerships or the development within manufacturing, that’s probably what I’m most excited about.”

TMMK team member Shameka Green is a perfect example of that commitment. She was also in attendance at Thursday’s White House event and had a chance to describe her experience as part of the Toyota family.

“I joined Toyota about two years ago with no automotive experience,” Green said. “Luckily, I served four years in the U.S. Army prior to entering the workforce. The Army equipped me with leadership skills, a sense of resilience, and discipline.  And I was able to translate those skills onto the shop floor. And Toyota, like the military, invested in me, and they, my supervisors, encouraged me to take on new challenges and also provided opportunities for me to take advanced training courses.”
Success Story –- TMMK team member Shameka Green joined TMNA CEO Jim Lentz at the White House Thursday afternoon to celebrate the Pledge to American Workers. She told President Trump how Toyota’s commitment to team member development has powered her professional growth.

In her two years with the company, Green has taken on more responsibility and expanded her skill set – allowing her to transition into higher positions.

“One of the things that has been so impactful for us is to travel around the country and hear the individual stories of how new pathways have been opened up for you as a result of the training experiences you’ve undertaken,” Ivanka Trump said.  “And hearing from you today reinforces why this initiative is so important and why we’re so committed to it.  So, really, thank you.”

Since Lentz signed the pledge last March, Toyota has either trained or retrained 18,000 team members. Our commitment also includes expansion of our Technician Training Education Network (T-TEN) program used to train and place techs at dealerships  as well as our Advanced Manufacturing Training (AMT)  which trains people for skilled jobs at our manufacturing plants.

Toyota also continues to hire team members in preparation for its newest plant, a joint venture between Toyota and Mazda, opening in 2021 in Huntsville, Alabama. The plant will provide 4,000 jobs for the community, split between the two companies.

Watch the full White House ceremony here.

By Kristen Orsborn

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