Our Management
Approach to


Key Takeaways
  • Our social impact strategy creates sustainable, measurable economic growth through three pillars: STEM education, vehicle and road safety and sustainable communities. Across each pillar, we use a four-step social impact framework to maximize our investments.
  • GM’s STEM education initiatives cover four main emerging areas of the “STEM Impact Compass,” including: Immersive Learning, Computational Thinking, Artificial Intelligence and Digitization of Education.
  • We provide education and training to help reduce vehicle-related injuries and fatalities.
  • We invest in developing sustainable communities across the world and near our hometown headquarters in Detroit, Michigan, through focus areas of mobility, employability and livability.

We know we do well by doing good. That’s why we work to ensure that community programs are embedded in our decision-making and business processes around the world. Our social impact strategy accelerates our efforts by placing a sharp focus on investments that create sustainable economic growth around the world. At the same time, it provides an approach that allows us to create and measure positive social change and business outcomes. Our strategy is built around three key pillars: STEM education, vehicle and road safety, and sustainable communities. For each of these pillars, we employ a four-step social impact framework to determine areas where we have the most potential for impact:

1. Analyze—Look at the landscape of a problem to understand root causes and existing pain points. Determine how GM as a business can uniquely contribute.

2. Assess and Align—Use a decision-making tool to determine what programs we will continue to support and scale, what new types of programs we will support, and what programs no longer fit our priorities.

3. Activate—Identify specific social impact outcomes and solicit programs that will help us achieve those outcomes.

4. Measure and Evaluate—Quantify the impact of programs and map impact to each social outcome.

Potential partners also use this framework when applying for grants. Based on the pillar with which an organization is aligned, each applicant must explain the indicators and social outcomes that their program will address. This alignment ensures our community investments are used to make quantifiable positive impacts in their respective focus areas.

GM Pillar Impact Strategy


STEM Education

Advancing Education in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Subjects

Vehicle & Road Safety

Fueling Safer Practices In and Around Vehicles

Sustainable Communities

Strengthening Neighborhoods and Empowering Residents
Target Indicator Number of students with employable labor skills for careers in STEM The reduction of vehicle-related injuries and deaths The number of youth and adults who have the requisite skills for employment and decent jobs
Social Outcomes
  • Increase in students who earn a STEM degree that matches market needs
  • Increase in the presence, achievement and persistence for underrepresented minorities in STEM fields
  • Increase in supply of qualified teachers for teacher training in STEM-related subjects
  • Increase in seat belt and restraint usage
  • Decrease in distracted driving
  • Increase in awareness, knowledge and skills of vehicle and road safety
  • Increase in education levels and/or marketable technical and vocational skills
  • Increase in the number of high school students who are college ready
  • Support neighborhood revitalization and urban renewal programs
Program Population Third–12th grade and college students, with a special emphasis on women and minorities Parents, grandparents, young drivers and children The poorest districts and neighborhoods within select global communities

STEM Education

Technological innovation is driving a sea change in the automotive industry. Today’s vehicles have tens of millions of lines of digital code and integrate thousands of parts. This makes STEM education more important than ever to training the workforce of tomorrow. Yet too few students are pursuing STEM-related education and degrees, leading to a looming talent gap for our future workforce.

This gap exists at all levels of education, especially in the U.S. A 2016 report by the National Science Foundation revealed that nearly half of all first degrees awarded in China are in STEM fields, while in the U.S., only about one in three are. The problem begins much earlier than higher education, however. The Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study, for example, reports lagging scores for U.S. students as early as fourth grade. By high school, according to the Programme for International Student Assessment, the U.S. ranks 38th out of 71 countries in math ability, and 30th among the 35 Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development member countries.

Members of the GM FIRST Robotics team.

Gaps between men and women, and between whites and minorities, also are significant. As the number of white students who earned STEM degrees grew 15 percent in the last five years, the number of black students fell by roughly the same margin, according to the US News/Raytheon STEM Index, 2016. Women lag behind men overall in exam scores and in the number of STEM degrees granted. In the U.S., only 18 percent of computer science majors and 10 percent of information security professionals are women.

Given the strategic importance of STEM education to the long-term sustainability of our business, GM and our employees are involved in more than 100 STEM education initiatives around the world annually. We choose initiatives and partners using a research-based analysis of various challenges, such as teacher shortages, quality of teaching and learning, high attrition rates for underrepresented minorities, low student engagement and inequities and inequalities in STEM education. The programs are in four emerging areas with the potential to drive transformative solutions, which make up what we call the STEM Impact Compass:

  • Immersive Learning—Hands-on experiences that encourage active participation and drive engagement
  • Computational Thinking—Developing analytical, multidisciplinary and transferable skills like problem-solving and experimentation
  • Artificial Intelligence—Exploring AI-powered technologies with the potential to facilitate teaching and learning
  • Digitization of Education—Using online and digital tools and resources to transform how learning is delivered and experienced inside and outside the classroom

Vehicle and Road Safety

In keeping with GM’s value that safety and quality are foundational commitments, the second focus area of our strategy guides us to support global efforts to increase safe practices in and around vehicles. We know motor vehicle crashes are the number one cause of unintentional death among children ages 5–19. Further, six teens ages 16–19 die every day from motor vehicle injuries. Our focus is on parents, grandparents, young drivers and children.

Through education and training, we aim to reduce the number of vehicle-related injuries and deaths by increasing the number of drivers and passengers who use seat belts and restraints, decreasing the number of distracted drivers, raising awareness of road safety issues and improving the knowledge and skills of those behind the wheel.

Through the GM/Girls Who Code partnership, girls from underserved communities will gain increased access to computer science education, mentorship and projects that demonstrate the real-world impact of computing that significantly increases young girls’ interest in pursuing technology and engineering degrees.

Sustainable Communities

Our third focus area encompasses our efforts to enhance the quality of life in our communities around the world. We believe that for people to successfully live, learn, work and play within their communities, they need access to transit, good jobs and safe, walkable places to live. These three ingredients—mobility, employability and livability—comprise what we call the social mobility ecosystem and guide our efforts to build sustainable communities. Through investments in long-term solutions GM will enable mobility that goes well beyond vehicles, creating upward economic mobility for many.

  • Mobility—As long as people must physically move to access opportunities, they will need access to reliable and affordable modes of transportation. GM believes in a world made better by sharing. Yet economic and physical access remain barriers to use of shared mobility solutions by everyone. That’s why we’re working with partners that increase access to and utilization of reliable, affordable, smart and innovative transportation options that are likely to facilitate social inclusion. Investing in public transit benefits not only the people who use it; research shows that for every dollar invested in public transportation, a community generates $4 in economic returns.
  • Employability—A second essential element for building sustainable communities is employability. Today, there are half a million unfilled jobs in IT fields, and hundreds of thousands more will need to be filled soon. Yet too many people lack access to resources to help them develop career aspirations and prepare for today’s world of work, such as high-performing schools, guidance counselors, career offices and connections to individuals with successful careers. GM aims to increase opportunities for Americans of any age, in any part of the country and from any background to be trained for jobs with promising career paths. We work with partners that help people develop skills in language literacy and proficiency, trades, advanced manufacturing, technology and sales and marketing.
  • Livability—Closely related to the opportunities offered by expanding mobility options is the demand for walkable, transit-oriented communities. While populations in walkable urban and suburban areas are growing rapidly, there are only 21 adequate, affordable and available units for every 100 extremely low-income renter households nationwide. GM can help address this imbalance by working with partners that use Smart Growth as an urban planning strategy to increase positive enablers that make up a community’s quality of life. This includes improving a community’s neighborhood infrastructure, housing stabilization, revitalization and school improvement projects; and creating child- and family-safe places for recreation and play.

Though we strive to have a positive impact where we do business, the cyclical nature of the automotive industry can impact a community in the opposite manner. When business downsizing or plant closures are necessary, we work diligently with local governments and other entities to minimize economic and social disruption. In Australia, for example, where engineering operations were downsized and vehicle manufacturing were discontinued at the end of 2017, we contributed AUD15 million to a reskilling and training program to assist staff leaving Holden. We also established transition centers at each of Holden’s sites to offer a suite of support services, training and ongoing career guidance for departing employees.

Girls Who Code participants.

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