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Focus: HOPE, General Motors Partner for STEM Career Pathway Program for Detroit Women

By June 5, 2017 63 Comments

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DETROIT- Focus: HOPE and General Motors have joined forces to create the Women In Manufacturing & Technology (WIM Tech) program, a new Manufacturing and Information Technology job preparedness and training program for 60 local women. The program is made possible by a $370,000 grant and $338,000 in laptops and network infrastructure donation from GM.

According to the National Kids Count report, more than 59 percent of Detroit children lived in poverty in 2012 and women led about 51 percent of all Detroit households. The poverty rate for single parent households without advanced degrees drops from 46 to 14 percent when the head of household had earned at least a Bachelor’s Degree.

“The key to a successful career is opportunities, something that GM has given our graduates and individuals we serve for decades,” Jason D. Lee, CEO of Focus: HOPE. “We are looking forward to continuing our partnership with GM and working together to eliminate racism, poverty and injustice.”

With an extraordinary record of success in working with underserved and marginalized members of the Detroit/Southeast Michigan community, Focus: HOPE offers accessible, high-quality work readiness, pre-apprenticeship and apprenticeship programs in a range of in-demand career fields.

“Focus: HOPE has a strong history of providing job training services to residents in and around Detroit,” said Jackie Parker, Director, Global Corporate Giving at General Motors. “Women are underrepresented in the manufacturing and IT workforce and there is a need for more highly trained female professionals, which the Women In Manufacturing & Technology program has been designed to provide.”

Focus: HOPE has dramatically transformed thousands of lives through its three key areas of focus: food, careers and community. GM has contributed significantly to these three areas and has been a major partner in the longevity of the organization. Since 1986, GM has given over $14,000,000 to the Detroit nonprofit. In addition to financial support, over 1,000 employees volunteer 5,000 hours of service in both Focus: HOPE’s food and community programs.

In 1993, an innovative college degree program was launched in Focus: HOPE’s new, Center for Advanced Technologies (CAT) building. Retired GM President, Lloyd Reuss, volunteered to lead the innovative program, which gave MTI graduates the opportunity to earn a tuition-free college degree in manufacturing engineering.

In 2016, General Motors Foundation gave a $500,000 grant, along with the Society of Engineers International (SAE), for continued support of Focus: HOPE’s CAT.

“GM has been a longtime supporter of our CAT program, not just financially but in volunteer hours,” said Rashida Thomas, Director of Workforce Development & Education, Focus: HOPE. “We are looking forward to this continued partnership as we open career opportunities for women in STEM.”

About Focus: HOPE
Focus: HOPE is a nationally recognized civil and human rights organization founded in 1968, after the Detroit riots, by Father William T. Cunningham and Eleanor M. Josaitis. Together, they adopted the following mission: “Recognizing the dignity and beauty of every person, we pledge intelligent and practical action to overcome racism, poverty, and injustice. And to build a metropolitan community where all people may live in freedom, harmony, trust and affection.” – adopted on March 8, 1968. Since 1968, Focus: HOPE has dramatically transformed thousands of lives through its three key areas of focus: food, careers and community. For more information, visit www.focushope.edu.

About GM Foundation
Since 1976, the General Motors Foundation has donated nearly $1 billion to U.S. charities, educational organizations and disaster relief efforts worldwide. In 2016, the company began transitioning from a U.S.-focused, foundation-based giving model to a global social impact strategy to promote economic growth around the world. This strategy will advance STEM education, improve vehicle and road safety and build sustainable communities, with a special focus where GM has business units and employee presence around the world.

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