TutorMate volunteer David Aller and his student, Elijah, at Nolan Elementary School in Highland Park, Michigan.

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Support STEM Students in Our
Hometown Community

Mentoring programs and outreach activities are getting kids of all ages in the Detroit area excited about STEM.

GM aims to promote STEM interest and education among young people across the nation and the world. We have a special interest, however, in developing pathways to STEM degrees and careers in our hometown community of Detroit, Michigan. There’s never been a better time for us to do so: According to the Detroit Regional Chamber, Detroit outpaces the nation in information technology job growth and is expected to continue the pace through 2025.

We hope that local youth will be ready to fill many of these jobs, thanks in part to several programs spearheaded by GM. These programs support students from elementary school through high school, and are based on the notion that formative educational moments can happen outside of standard classroom instruction—whether a mentor introduces a child to a new career path or simply shows that they care.

First-grade students in low-income Detroit communities were matched with 70 GM employees through TutorMate, the nation’s preeminent online volunteer tutoring program. Students and tutors met weekly by phone throughout the school year, working through lessons aimed at improving literacy skills and building self-esteem at the same time.

GM Chairman & CEO Mary Barra volunteered at a STEM camp for elementary school students in the Cody Rouge community.

Over the summer, more than 300 GM volunteers donated their time and talent at a new STEM camp for students in second through fifth grade in the Cody Rouge community. We partnered with the Detroit Public Schools Community District (DPSCD), the Detroit Area Pre-College Engineering Program (DAPCEP) and Michigan Science Center in the effort. Students were exposed to basic science concepts though hands-on activities such as making nitrogen ice cream, creating balloon rocket cars and building roller coasters for marbles. The GM Women Community Outreach Group facilitated an activity called Manufacturing Engineering in a Box, in which students cast metal GM medallions and learned what manufacturing and metal melting is all about.

In addition, during National Volunteer Week, children of GM employees learned about STEM education and careers on our annual Bring Your Kid to Work Day. Volunteers guided GM parents and their children through interactive modules that demonstrated aerodynamics, gravity, friction, engine usage and more. More than 3,000 children visited the Warren Tech Center, and more than 330 employees volunteered to ensure they had a great experience.

GM’s support for Detroit’s youth continues when students enter high school, exemplified by the group of GM engineers who lead FIRST Robotics teams at the Detroit Hispanic Development Corporation. Each mentor spends a minimum of 200 hours volunteering with local high school students in Michigan’s FIRST Robotics program, including after work and on weekends. During the season, mentors and students work on building robots and equipping them with performance capabilities such as shooting balls, climbing ropes and delivering gears. FIRST’s mission is to inspire young people to become science and technology leaders by engaging them in exciting mentor-based programs that build skills, inspire innovation and foster self-confidence, communication and leadership.

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