GM partners with 4 groups to boost STEM education

Melissa Burden
The Detroit News

General Motors Co. has partnered with four new organizations as part of its emerging corporate giving plan that includes a focus on encouraging young people to explore science, technology, engineering and math related professions.

The Detroit automaker said Wednesday it will give a total of $850,000 and has established new partnerships with, Black Girls Code, Institute of Play and Digital Promise.

GM says it is giving $200,000 to to help train 1,400 computer science teachers who will teach more than 40,000 U.S. students during the 2017-18 school year. GM will give $200,000 to help Black Girls Code to launch a Detroit-area chapter by this fall to expose underrepresented girls in the area to coding and technology; the group aims to boost the number of minority women in tech careers.

The automaker will help New York City-based Institute of Play by providing $200,000 to develop an eight-month professional development fellowship for middle and high school STEM teachers that will focus on using games, play and digital tools to change teacher practice and student engagement. It also will support research and creation of an online credential curriculum for teachers in computational thinking with a $250,000 grant to Digital Promise.

“We’re in the midst of transforming how our customers get from point A to point B with technology like autonomous vehicles, connectivity, electrification and car sharing,” GM Chairman and CEO Mary Barra said in a statement. “By expanding and improving access to STEM education, we’re developing teachers’ and students’ capabilities — and it’s my hope those students become graduates who are equipped to join us in the technical fields required to lead in the future of mobility.”

The automaker said it chose the organizations to address issues such as teacher shortages, quality of teaching and learning related to STEM in hopes the programs will drive solutions to bolster attention and interest in STEM.

“We need to remove the barriers and address the issues that are preventing young people from pursuing careers in technology and engineering,” Hina Baloch, GM manager of Global Social Impact and STEM Education, said in a statement. “Our partners bring the innovative thinking we need to ignite more interest in STEM careers and improve STEM education.”

Earlier this year, GM gave $250,000 to the nonprofit Girls Who Code. That partnership includes funding after school programs for middle and high school girls to encourage pursuing tech and engineering degrees. GM says it will have committed to spending more than $10 million by the end of the year to advance and boost STEM education.

The automaker is ending the General Motors Foundation this year in favor of a global corporate philanthropy effort that includes spending for results-driven focuses in high-tech education, improving vehicle safety and reducing accidents and injuries; and supporting sustainable economic development in cities, including Detroit.

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