General Motors and Black Girls CODE (BGC) recently announced the launch of a BGC Detroit chapter with a series of hands-on and engaging activities at Detroit International Academy for Women (DIA), a Detroit Public Schools Community District school, and TechTown:
STEM students from area colleges and universities will attend a panel discussion with BGC CEO Kimberly Bryant and GM executive vice president of global manufacturing Alicia Boler Davis, moderated by GM chairman and CEO Mary Barra.
DIA students in second through sixth grades will work with Black Girls CODE and GM employee volunteers to operate the BGC Robot Spiro to help build and race their own toy cars.
DIA students in seventh through 12th grades will hear perspectives from a founding BGC member and young STEM professionals from GM and DTE Energy.
According to the Detroit Regional Chamber, Detroit outpaces the nation in information technology job growth and is expected to continue the pace through 2025. This partnership, announced alongside four other computer science partnerships in June, aims to increase interest in STEM career fields for girls of color. Women of color are traditionally underrepresented in STEM fields, especially in technology. Only 3 percent of African American women and less than 1 percent of Latinas receive degrees in computer science.
Barra says, “We’re on the forefront of electric and self-driving cars and connectivity that allows our vehicles to communicate with each other — and, with all that innovation, today’s cars have millions of lines of code. It’s one of the reasons that it’s our mission to help build the next generation of STEM leaders, with an emphasis on expanding opportunities to women and other underrepresented groups.”
Bryant adds, “Although we’ve hosted workshops in the area off and on since 2012, we are thrilled to officially launch a Black Girls CODE chapter in Detroit with the support of GM and other corporate and community partners like Comcast and Wayne State University. Our regular programming, launching this fall, will lay a foundation to fully engage girls of color in Detroit and is designed to inspire them to continue their paths as future STEM professionals.”
GM has committed more than $10M by the end of the year to advance and improve STEM education. GM employees have also volunteered more than 48,700 hours to STEM-related nonprofits this year.