Introduced in May 2013, GM Student Corps continues this summer with 108 Detroit-area and Flint students from 12 high schools with paid internships and the opportunity to give back to their neighborhoods.
Teams of students from each school select and complete community service projects throughout the summer, supported by GM retiree mentors and GM interns from the University of Detroit Mercy (UDM).
The Student Corps tackle community park cleanup, park and athletic field restoration, building repairs and painting, among other projects. They learn teamwork and leadership skills and develop a deeper connection to their communities, and each other, along the way.
For many of the high school students, the GM internship is their first paying job. The comprehensive program also offers sessions on life skills topics, such as decision making, communication, career development, budgeting and banking, and health and safety.
“The program is a wonderful way to show young people in our community the GM family cares about them and their future,” said Mark Reuss, GM executive vice president of Global Product Development, Purchasing, and Supply Chain. “It’s also a terrific example of how we can work together to improve our neighborhoods and change lives for the better.”
“Student Corps is a transformative experience – many of the students have formed strong, lasting bonds with their retiree mentors,” says GM retiree and UDM economics professor Mike DiGiovanni. “The program reinforces what it takes to be successful in life: hard work, tenacity to stick with their goals, and the ability to communicate and work well with others. These students have grown tremendously, and have inspired their schools, the surrounding neighborhood and communities.” DiGiovanni, along with GM retiree Larry Hice, co-leads the retiree mentors.
Students also learn about various career paths during tours of Focus: HOPE, Junior Achievement, GM Design, the GM Detroit-Hamtramck Assembly Plant, Flint Truck Assembly Plant and UDM. They spend a day at the UDM campus, where they speak to professors and administrators about educational and career opportunities.
In 2013, students refurbished eight Detroit-area parks, planted 425 trees, shrubs and flowers, laid 392 yards of mulch, applied 223 gallons of paint, disposed of 205 bags and 29 dumpsters of plant overgrowth and refuse, distributed 30,000 pounds of food via local hunger organizations and more.
Student Corps in Detroit is an extension of GM’s partnership with United Way’s Network of Excellence Schools. General Motors hopes to continue this successful program for years to come.