DETROIT — Brittany Agee is well on her way toward achieving her dream of becoming a social worker. This summer, the former GM Student Corps high school intern — who’s now a junior at Alabama State University — is returning as a college intern and mentor to help other students see their potential.
“I learned so much being part of Student Corps, and now I want to help others see that education is the way up,” said Agee, a 2015 graduate of the Academy of Public Leadership at Detroit’s Cody Campus.
The GM Student Corps is celebrating its fifth and largest year of helping young people in underserved school districts transform their communities and jump start their futures through paid internships, important life skills training, career and college preparation. Pershing High and Detroit Collegiate Prep at Northwestern are the latest schools to join the nine-week program, for a total of 15 schools and 150 student interns from Metro Detroit, Flint and Pontiac.
In addition, five Student Corps alumni now enrolled in college — including Agee — are among 15 college interns guiding this year’s high school participants. Agee credits the GM Student Corps for her ability to persevere through personal losses in her childhood, finish high school and enroll in college.
Student Corps, an extension of GM’s commitment to education, matches teams of 10 high school interns with retired GM executives and college interns to plan and execute community service projects, usually at schools and parks. The students manage all aspects of their projects, from budgeting, planning and troubleshooting to meeting deadlines.
“GM Student Corps helps create safer, more sustainable communities, but just as importantly, it changes lives,” said Heidi Magyar, director of GM Community Outreach and Student Corps. “With help from our GM retiree and college intern mentors, these high school students learn the value of teamwork, leadership, goal-setting and community service — lessons they’ll carry with them the rest of their lives.”
Student Corps interns are selected based on their leadership potential, dedication, determination and academics. In between physical tasks of cleaning, landscaping and painting, they attend workshops on managing money, building relationships and staying healthy and safe. They tour GM facilities, dealers and the University of Detroit Mercy to sample career and educational opportunities.
Students wrap up their work in mid-August, then report on their projects — and lessons learned — to program champion Mark Reuss, executive vice president of GM Global Product Development, and his leadership team.
However, the program usually doesn’t end there. Most retirees stay connected to the students, checking in on grades, goals and personal challenges long after the summer is over.
Since its introduction in 2013, the GM Student Corps has provided nearly 500 summer internships and completed more than 50 school improvement projects and more than 50 park renovations.
Last summer alone, the GM Student Corps led improvements at 13 schools and 14 parks. Students also:
- Built 83 bikes for donation to children in need
- Assembled 77 picnic tables
- Spread 542 yards of mulch, enough to fill more than 50 large dump trucks
- Applied nearly 300 gallons of paint in four school restrooms and on two murals and 80 doors
- Planted 165 flowers and shrubs
The 2017 GM Student Corps schools are Central Collegiate Academy, Cody Campus, East Detroit High School, Flint Southwestern Classical Academy, Hamtramck High School, Harper Woods High School, Henry Ford High School, Madison High School, Melvindale High School, Osborn Campus, Pontiac High School, River Rouge High School, Van Dyke Lincoln High School, Pershing High School and Detroit Collegiate Prep at Northwestern.
General Motors Co. (NYSE:GM, TSX: GMM) and its partners produce vehicles in 30 countries, and the company has leadership positions in the world's largest and fastest-growing automotive markets. GM, its subsidiaries and joint venture entities sell vehicles under the Chevrolet, Cadillac, Baojun, Buick, GMC, Holden, Jiefang, Opel, Vauxhall and Wuling brands. More information on the company and its subsidiaries, including OnStar, a global leader in vehicle safety, security and information services, can be found at https://www.gm.com.