DPSCD, Stellantis Collab on $4M Advanced Manufacturing Academy Investment

Detroit Public Schools Community District students use STEM lab computers in the renovated advanced manufacturing classroom at Southeastern High School.

Photo courtesy of DPSCD


Long-sought after dreams of opening even more advanced manufacturing opportunities to the city are finally becoming a reality with a two-phase initiative happening at Southeastern High School.

Through partnerships with Detroit Public Schools Community District (DPSCD) joined by partners Stellantis (formerly FCA), and the City of Detroit (Detroit at Work) to announce the completion of Phase 1 of the new Advanced Manufacturing Career Academy at Southeastern High School, an education-career pathway program, which allows students to jump-start their careers in advanced manufacturing. 

“Been a labor of love for all of us,” Christine Estereicher, Director – State Relations, Civic Engagement and External Affairs, Stellantis, said during a press call on Wednesday.

“We continue to be excited about how the integration of the Advanced Manufacturing program at Southeastern will reconnect this historic high school to the neighborhood and provide students with unique and competitive programming that makes them college and work ready after high school,” said Nikolai Vitti, Superintendent, DPSCD. “This investment and the ongoing commitment to implement the program as promised by our partners speaks to belief in our students and how they will shape the future of the city for generations to come.”

Phase 1 of the program launched at the beginning of the 2020 fall semester. It included technology support and access to the new online course, Introduction to Advanced Manufacturing. Through the fall semester and into the early spring, infrastructure investments were completed. They included fully renovating three classroom spaces and other internal upgrades, such as installation of the required electrical drops and workbenches to support the IT Networking course. Additionally, Stellantis worked closely with Southeastern High School leadership and the Office of Career and College Readiness to provide guest speakers related to the field. Just over 200 9th grade students enrolled in the Advance Manufacturing program. 

“Integral to our investment of $2.5 billion in the Detroit Assembly Complex and creation of nearly 5,000 new jobs, we’ve been actively listening and engaging the community,” said Estereicher said. “Through this process, we’ve come to learn that the community is very passionate about its need for a long-term commitment to education and career opportunities. In response, we partnered with DPSCD and the City of Detroit and invested an additional $4 million to create the Advanced Manufacturing Career Academy, which we believe will benefit this community and Detroit for years to come.”  



During a virtual press call, the program entities shared their thoughts on the program and how it will allow students to experience the initial work in a high-growth field with high-demand careers in manufacturing, many of which are available throughout Detroit and Southeast Michigan, according to a press release. 

The Advanced Manufacturing Academy will provide unique in-school Career Technical Education (CTE) programming that aligns with industry requirements. The curriculum for participating students includes a combination of traditional high school courses, contextualized courses and CTE training in advanced manufacturing and information technology. In addition, the District envisions programming in CNC machinery, welding, robotics, mechatronics, and other industry relevant courses. Each course will offer industry certifications that students can acquire upon completion of the career pathway program.


For Phase 2, a new 10th grade course will begin in the fall 2021 semester so that students who were engaged this year can continue their Advanced Manufacturing pathway experience. And, even during the pandemic, the Advanced Manufacturing Academy has moved forward with the renovation of the classrooms, a classroom set of computers intentionally purchased for the Networking program, and installation of the tabletop CNC machine and robotic arm, along with the software required for programming. An Advanced Manufacturing lab, an Information Technology classroom and a work room were fully furnished with new hardware as well as equipment from the Golightly CTE campus to support a return to in-person learning. The newly designed space is outfitted to accommodate 30-35 students in-person per room for the 9th grade program. The manufacturing space is also equipped with software programs to provide accessible online learning for the students.


A driving force in the partnership has been the city’s Detroit At Work initiative.  Whether through job readiness events, messaging or creating a future talent pipeline by supporting the Advanced Manufacturing Academy at Southeastern, Detroit at Work, and thereby the City of Detroit, has brought hope to thousands of Detroiters, be they adults or District students, seeking career opportunities in the growing field of advanced manufacturing.


“Detroit is now seeing significant investment in modern, advanced manufacturing facilities in the city, and that investment is bringing thousands of job opportunities for Detroiters.” said Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan.  “Detroit at Work is already recruiting and preparing Detroit adults for these opportunities, and this major new facility will prepare the city’s youth for high-demand manufacturing careers right out of high school.”


Students and families who are interested in exploring enrollment opportunities at Southeastern High School and the Advanced Manufacturing Academy can get more information by visiting detroitk12.org/examschools.  


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