DRIVEN Youth Symposium explores renewable energy during NAIAS

Educating students about high tech careers at an early age is critical to fueling the automotive industry’s talent pipeline. On Tuesday, Jan. 16 approximately 160 Detroit Public School high school seniors convened at the Detroit Science Center to share in the excitement generated by and North American International Auto Show and explore opportunities for auto-industry related careers.
The DRIVEN Youth Symposium, a STEM educational component powered by the Michigan Chronicle’s DRIVEN Experience Vlll in conjunction with DAPCEP, a non-profit organization dedicated to connecting students with the best educational experiences in science, technology, engineering and math. The open forum symposium consisted of an introduction to employment opportunities in the world of automotive and breakout sessions with industry experts who use science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) in their everyday work life. “Participants at the DRIVEN Youth Symposium are focusing primarily on learning about E85 and H2O alternative fuel sources and their real-world applications,” explained DAPCEP executive director Michelle Reaves.
‘There is a strong and concerted effort to develop sustainable fuels that are reliable and safe as part of the automotive industry’s ‘go green’ objectives.” This half-day immersion also exposed eager and enthusiastic participants to hands-on demonstrations, a panel of automotive professionals and open discussions to inquire about futures in STEM dependent industries. Students received instruction in DAPCEP developed curriculum from DAPCEP teachers, along with Ford and General Motors engineers who were once DAPCEP students themselves.
“We can sometimes serve as a connector to internships for students interested in going further. We partner with several corporate offices and since internships are so pivotal at an early stage, but we now have corporate offices who are interested in having students intern while still in high school,” explained Reaves. Both the DRIVEN Youth Symposium and DAPCEP are committed to working with African American students help them identify coursework for careers in STEM and navigate the path to high-paying positions through intensive learning experiences and professional interactions.
Technology and engineering industry experts emphasize the importance of black students interested in pursuing technical careers to meet and build rapports with other people of color working in the field. “I want to be the one to tell you today, that the reason you all are here today is because you are not invisible to us,” said Tonya Matthews, Michigan D Science  Center  president  and  CEO  in  addressing  the  group  of   eager   participants.   “I   already see you and the amazing things you are about to do and that’s  why  you  are  here,”  she  concluded. The    DRIVEN    Experience,    a    tribute    to    multicultural    achievement   in   the   automotive  industry,  along  with  the  popular    youth    symposium,    culminates  with  an  unveiling  and  awards  celebration  January 17 at the Garden Theater in Midtown  Detroit.

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