Ford STEAM Lab

Get to ‘em while they’re young. That’s the approach local schools and companies are taking in getting students interested in careers in the fields of creative technologies.

In this case, it’s the Ford STEAM Lab Summer Camp, a partnership between the Henry Ford Learning Institute and Lawrence Technological University’s Detroit Center for Design + Technology, and made possible by a grant from the Ford Motor Company Fund.

Middle school students from Macomb, Oakland, and Wayne counties are able to attend the five day summer camp at no cost, thanks to support from the Ford Motor Company Fund, the Hudson-Webber Foundation, the Walmart Foundation and .design domains.

The Ford STEAM Lab Summer Camp occurs Aug. 6 through 10. There is an Aug. 1 deadline to apply.

Students will be immersed in design processes, build prototypes, and create business plans for their ideas for wearable technologies. They will then pitch their business ideas to a team of experts and professionals, much like the Shark Tank television program.

It’s all about getting students interested in and preparing them for high-growth careers in creative technology fields.

“It’s a good time to start reaching kids. And it’s important for Michigan. There’s so much talent here, but they get tempted by places like Silicon Valley,” says Christopher Stefani, associate director for the DCDT.

“Why not curate a talent pipeline in our own backyard and combat that brain drain? Let’s keep our talent right here at home.”

STEAM, which stands for science, technology, engineering, art, and math, is a transdisciplinary approach to education. It’s being transdisciplinary, says Stefani, that will better prepare students for the 21st century workforce. Because that’s what companies are, too: Transdisciplinary.

“It’s like Ford saying that they’re not a car company, they’re a mobility company. Or Domino’s saying that they’re a technology company that happens to deliver pizza.”

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