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DEARBORN, Mich., Oct. 11, 2014 – Ford today announced a new Ford Blue Oval STEM Scholarship Program during the kickoff of its 30th annual High School Science and Technology Program (HSSTP). The new scholarship program will provide $500,000 in scholarships over four years to 50 students interested in pursuing degrees in science, technology, engineering or mathematic (STEM) fields.
Felicia Fields, group vice president, Human Resources and Corporate Services, made the announcement as she spoke to HSSTP participants and employee volunteers at the Ford Research and Innovation Center during the first session of the 2014-15 program.
“This new scholarship demonstrates our continued commitment to STEM education by investing in talented students who represent the future of the automotive industry,” said Fields. “For 30 years, long before anyone even talked about STEM fields, Ford was a leading force in promoting science, math and technology. This scholarship takes our commitment to these disciplines even further.”
Scholarship selection and renewal will be administered through the SME Education Foundation.
Select students who participated in one of the following three Ford-supported STEM programs were invited to apply for the scholarships:
The renewable scholarships, in the amount of $2,500 per year, are not based on financial need, but rather GPA and STEM major enrollment. They can be used at approved four-year colleges for STEM degrees or two-year vocational programs. Scholarships can be used for room, board, tuition, books and SME Education Foundation-approved educational expenses.
“This ongoing scholarship program will help the best and brightest students associated with Ford pursue a STEM-related career,” said Fields. “We hope that through these scholarships, more students will understand that the auto industry offers innovative and collaborative career opportunities.”
An investment in the future
Ford’s future success is dependent upon innovating technologies that not only meet, but exceed, customer demand. And exceeding those expectations will only happen with the right talent. The problem is that the automotive industry is facing severe shortages of students and recent graduates entering the work force with the skills and knowledge necessary to propel the business forward, particularly in technological fields.
It is critical that Ford develops a pipeline of technically trained professionals and opportunities for students to become more engaged in STEM-related fields. The situation is particularly acute in the United States. According to a survey by the Program for International Student Assessment, U.S. students ranked 24th in the world in their understanding of science and 31st globally in math.
Meanwhile, the percentage of degrees awarded in STEM disciplines is on the decline. For example, enrollment in engineering degrees is expected to fall to just 5.5 percent of all college majors by 2020 – about half of what it was in 1995.
A leading force in promoting STEM for 30 years
Programs like HSSTP have made Ford a pioneer and a leading force in promoting STEM education among high school students in southeast Michigan.
The Ford HSSTP launched in 1984 with the goal of increasing student awareness about technical careers and demonstrating the importance of science and mathematics in manufacturing. The all-volunteer effort is led by the Ford Research and Advanced Engineering staff and includes tours, demonstrations, lectures and hands-on activities. Open to area high school students who seek to explore STEM fields and their application in real-life careers, more than 10,000 students have completed the HSSTP program to date.
Some HSSTP participants, such as 1998 participant Angela Harris, continued into Ford’s internship program and are now Ford employees.
“I don’t think I would have known to go into chemical engineering if I hadn’t had the opportunity to do the internship here at Ford,” said Harris, who now works in Ford Global Product Planning and Strategy. “Most people don’t start their careers when they’re 16 years old, so it’s been a very rewarding journey for me.”
This year’s group of participants is comprised of more than 200 area students. Today kicks off the first three-hour Saturday session in a six-Saturday program that runs through March 2015. The session, titled “Advanced Energy Storage and Conversion Technologies – Key to Vehicle Electrification,” gives students an opportunity to get closely acquainted with advanced energy storage and energy conversion technologies and their vehicle application, as well as learn directly from industry experts at Ford.
“We love to show participants how their high school math and science studies pertain to solving real-world problems,” said Dr. Imad Makki, HSSTP program director. “HSSTP gives these students a comprehensive look at automotive manufacturing today and a real vision for how they can become part of this exciting industry. The Ford Blue Oval STEM Scholarship Program is another exciting element to this already dynamic program.”
Students interested in participating in the HSSTP program can send an email to email@example.com for more information. For more detail regarding the scholarship program, please contact Kathy Carter, email: firstname.lastname@example.org .
More information about Ford and its overall STEM strategy is available in the company’s 2014 Sustainability Report: People section.
Ford Motor Company (NYSE: F) is a global company based in Dearborn, Michigan, that is committed to helping build a better world, where every person is free to move and pursue their dreams. The company’s Ford+ plan for growth and value creation combines existing strengths, new capabilities and always-on relationships with customers to enrich experiences for and deepen the loyalty of those customers. Ford develops and delivers innovative, must-have Ford trucks, sport utility vehicles, commercial vans and cars and Lincoln luxury vehicles, as well as connected services. Additionally, Ford is establishing leadership positions in mobility solutions, including self-driving technology, and provides financial services through Ford Motor Credit Company. Ford employs about 176,000 people worldwide. More information about the company, its products and Ford Credit is available at corporate.ford.com.