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Mazda Foundation awards grants to Huntsville STEM programs

IRVINE, Calif. — The Robotics Education and Competition Foundation in Huntsville received a Mazda Foundation grant to establish its Factory Automation Competition in the greater Huntsville area.

The classroom-based competition asks students to design, build, and program a manufacturing workcell.

REC seeks to provide educators with competition, education, and workforce readiness programs to increase student engagement in science, technology, engineering, math, and computer science.

The competition provides students with essential foundational skills needed for today’s advanced manufacturing careers.

The award was part of some $475,000 in grants awarded by the Mazda Foundation’s Board of Trustees to seven organizations across the country to address food insecurity and to give equitable access to education and job opportunities.

This year’s awards seek to extend STEM education and workforce opportunities to underserved young adults in high school and beyond. The Mazda Foundation’s funding this year is concentrated in the greater Huntsville and Southern California regions.

The Mazda Foundation also funds two more years of AVID programming in three schools in Madison. Advancement Via Individual Determination seeks to close the opportunity gap by preparing all students for college readiness and success.

“The awards … will help us deepen and, in some cases, grow the work that we do in communities across the country,” said Tamara Mlynarczyk, manager of public affairs for Mazda North American Operations and president of the Mazda Foundation. “We hope that with these awards we can continue to make a direct impact on even more Americans as they navigate the unique challenges these last few years have presented.”

Other awards went to the second year of the culinary training program at Bracken’s Kitchen in Garden Grove, Calif.; funding for a holistic educational and job mentoring program established by College Track Los Angeles; funding for the Full Circle automotive technician training program for formerly incarcerated individuals established by Vehicles for Change in Halethorpe, Md.; and funding for a two-year commitment to bring FUSE Studios’ STEAM labs to 16 additional schools in Southern California.

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