Best Practices
December 13, 2010

General Motors Helping to Pave the Way for Future Engineers

Can you imagine kids excited enough about math and science to leap out of bed on a Saturday morning? It sounds incredible, but the Detroit Area Pre-College Engineering Program (DAPCEP) has been experiencing this reaction for over 35 years. And since 1981, the General Motors Foundation has supported this innovative student achievement program. DAPCEP is designed to academically prepare and motivate students to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM).  Offering a variety of programs in the greater Detroit area, DAPCEP seeks to keep students in Kindergarten through 12th grade continuously engaged in hands-on math and science activities on weekends and during the summers. The program has built a tremendous reputation for success over its long history: today over 4,500 Detroit area youth participate annually, in no small part due to backing from GM's Foundation.

GM's Foundation has provided dedicated support for DAPCEP through both human capital and financial support. Over the years, the foundation has provided engineering volunteers to assist with classes and project development, and guided a major engineering project wherein students had to build a full-size operational paper car. The car was such a success it was used as a teaching tool in a local university the following semester.

“GM has been a devoted supporter of DAPCEP because we recognize the importance of letting children know that they are both wanted and needed in today’s STEM fields,” says Albert Ware, Director of GM’s Vehicle Safety and Crashworthiness Lab.  “As a company that is dependent on the strength and viability of a diverse and robust workforce, we have a strong role and responsibility here, particularly in helping to develop the next generation of inventors and innovators.”

DAPCEP is offered year-round in out-of-school time formats, on Saturday mornings and in summer residential and commuter-based formats. In select areas, DAPCEP curricula are also available as part of the school day to middle school students. Students take classes in subjects such as engineering, physics, mathematics, statistics, and computer science – all tailored to meet grade-level expectations, but to expand student comprehension beyond the traditional classroom as well. Classes are taught by specially trained teachers in a fun and engaging way to keep students motivated and interested. In addition to classroom-based activities, students receive ample opportunities to learn in real work environments.

There is also a professional development component of DAPCEP, in which students develop teamwork and oral presentation skills, make important contacts with educators and professionals, and are prepared for the rigor of postgraduate studies —all of which make them better prepared for successful careers.

Learn more about GM’s support of DAPCEP.