The impetus for founding the Center for Quality People and Organizations, Inc. was the 1986 decision by the Toyota Corporation to build the Toyota Motor Manufacturing Kentucky plant in Georgetown, Kentucky.
At that time, the Toyota Corporation committed to hiring Kentuckians at the Georgetown facility as the site of its first fully owned plant in the United States. In partnership, the Commonwealth of Kentucky assisted Toyota in implementing a staffing selection process focusing on applicants’ ability to demonstrate behavioral competencies required to produce automobiles using Toyota processes.
Following ten years of successful production at the Georgetown plant, a trend identified the fact that while participating in work-related simulations, applicants demonstrated limited ability in teamwork and problem-solving competencies. This occasioned a strategic question: “How to ensure that future applicants are prepared to demonstrate these critical competencies, and to increase their potential for success?” Recognizing the educational implications of this long-term business issue, in 1998 Toyota representatives met with leaders of the local Scott County School System to discuss strategies.
The ambitious discussions led to the development of a systematic program entitled, QUEST (Quest for Useful Employment Skills for Tomorrow); it aimed to assist schools in developing students not only as Toyota applicants, but also for college and career readiness. The QUEST program offered teaching techniques for teachers to encourage classroom interaction promoting teamwork and problem-solving skills, regardless of the material or class level being taught. The success of the program led to the 2002 founding of a joint-effort, non-profit organization, the Center for Quality People and Organizations (CQPO); the co-founders, Scott County School System and Toyota Motor, Kentucky, envisioned continuous service to education, business, and community organizations.