By Alexia Williams
Cal State Dominguez Hills has gained four new fabrication labs this semester with the help of Toyota.
The automaker gave the university a $750,000 grant toward construction of the mobile labs and accompanying trailers.
The so-called “Fab Labs” were created for qualified K-12 science and math teachers to use, a lack of Science Technology Engineering and Math (STEM) experiences that engage students, and a demand for more minorities graduating with STEM degrees.
The labs will be equipped with tools and equipment necessary for students to engage in STEM-related activities and enter competitions.
Included materials range from 3D printers and scanners to modeling software and laser cutters to instruments that help prototype projects.
The Fab Labs will be pulled by four Toyota Tundra trucks, which will travel throughout the South Bay and greater Los Angeles to serve local schools.
One aim is to help students in low-income areas take theoretical concepts and put them into practice through project-based learning.
According to the U.S. Department of Labor, there will be an estimated 1.4 million new STEM-related jobs by 2018.
“California’s demand for new math and science teachers in the next 10 years is expected to be over 33,000 and the current rate of new math and science teachers cannot come close to meeting that need,” according to the California Teachers Association.
In addition to the Fab Labs, Toyota donated $4 million to help build the new Science and Innovation building, which broke ground Sep. 28.