Paul Yago Starts Career with Grant from Silicon Valley Community Foundation

December 18, 2014:

New United Motor Manufacturing, Inc. (NUMMI) was an automobile manufacturing company in Fremont, California, jointly owned by General Motors and Toyota.  In 2010, the plant produced a red Toyota Corolla S – its last car. The production of Corollas in North America moved to Toyota Motor Manufacturing Mississippi's assembly plants in Blue Springs, Mississippi and Ontario Canada. Paul Yago, who’d spent 18 years working at NUMMI, and loved every minute of it, was out of a job.

“I loved NUMMI,” recalled Paul, a junior at Menlo College. “I took pride in building Corollas, Tacomas, and Pontiac Vibes. NUMMI gave me a chance, hiring me when I was just out of high school, and I learned a lot from them. I loved the employees and the way their cultures mixed. My co-workers taught me how to play dominos and Ping-Pong, which I still play today. Two of my co-workers were like surrogate fathers to me.”

When the company closed, NUMMI paid for Paul’s education at De Anza College, where he maintained a 3.7 GPA. After three years there, he transferred to Menlo College.

Working with Brian Feetham, then a financial aid counselor in the financial aid office at Menlo, Paul applied for a grant at the Silicon Valley Community Foundation. Success came Paul’s way:  He received an $11,000 scholarship from the Bright Futures Scholarship fund that will help him complete his degree in accounting.

Paul, who commutes from San Jose to Atherton every day for school, is in the process of interviewing for an internship in accounting. His story of resilience in the face of a major career change is a tale that prospective employers can admire.

“I like to use what I learn,” said Paul. “I love to make things.” Staying in the same company means a lot to me, and I hope that my desire for longevity will be fulfilled again as I launch a new career.”