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Posted on Fri, Aug 2, 2013 : 11:45 a.m.

General Motors announces $900,000 grant for middle and high school science education

By Ben Freed

As the rebounding economy adds more jobs, many of the higher paying openings require applicants to have science or engineering degrees.

With this trend in mind, General Motors announced a three-year $900,000 grant Friday morning to that will help fund Project Lead The Way, a national non-profit STEM — Science Technology Engineering and Mathmatics — curriculum provider.


Students at Skyline, Ann Arbor's newest high school, are taught Project Lead The Way curricula in engineering and biomedical sciences.

File photo

The announcement took place at Eastern Michigan University, where teachers who will be using the Project Lead The Way classes receive their training and support. With the increased focus on STEM education, both employers and educators are turning their focus to preparing middle and high school students for these advanced college courses.

“Project Lead The Way ensures that U.S. schools succeed in preparing students in our increasingly high-tech and high-skill economy,” John Dugger, director of Michigan’s Project Lead the Way affiliate program at EMU, said in a statement.

“This program is our country’s leading provider of rigorous STEM classes. It is a hands-on program that engages students on multiple levels to promote critical thinking, creativity, innovation and real-world problem-solving skills.”

Ford announced earlier this summer that it is increasing the number of engineers its hiring in 2013 by 800 positions, and 90 percent of those new salaried jobs have been in Southeast Michigan. The region has long been a leader in employing engineers thanks to the automotive industry, and GM vice president of global vehicle engineering John Calabrese said in a statement that education is important in continuing that success.

““In order to ensure our leadership in the automotive industry, and advance our innovative transportation solutions, we need to always look for opportunities to strengthen our involvement with science and math education programs,” he said.

“It is essential that the next generation of professionals has the skills and education necessary to compete on a global platform, particularly as it pertains to STEM-related fields.”

The grant money provided by GM can be used by middle and high schools throughout Michigan to participate in the program. Participating schools will use the money to purchase classroom supplies and equipment for the courses and send teachers to a professional training development program at EMU.

There are 122 schools in Michigan offering Project Lead the Way curriculum, and it is estimated that the grant from GM could help an additional 24 schools join the program. Washtenaw County has 11 schools in the program including Skyline, Saline and Lincoln high schools, and Tappan, Clague and Scarlett middle schools.

EMU and General Motors are not the only higher education-business partnership focusing on STEM education in the county. Washtenaw Community College offered an intensive two-week STEM program for high schoolers over the summer that was funded by DTE Energy.

Ben Freed covers business for You can sign up here to receive Business Review updates every week. Get in touch with Ben at 734-623-2528 or email him at Follow him on twitter @BFreedinA2



Sat, Aug 3, 2013 : 5:06 a.m.

How were AAPS schools chosen for this extra funding? Was the funded amount given in kind to the rest of the AAPS schools who did not receive the funding?

Tim Hornton

Sat, Aug 3, 2013 : 2:55 a.m.

I thought GM was a big bad evil Corporation that causes global warming. Great men like Michael Moore told us so in "Roger and Me"? Obama "had" to go and fire its CEO too. This must be an evil trick by GM to brain wash the kids to buy their Hummers they don't make anymore.


Fri, Aug 2, 2013 : 8:47 p.m.

All right class, everyone together now... Thank You General Motors!


Fri, Aug 2, 2013 : 6:33 p.m.

Smart investment!

Ben Freed

Fri, Aug 2, 2013 : 5:23 p.m.

Anyone out there experienced the Project Lead The Way curriculum or have a child who has taken the classes? I'd be interested to hear if people found it worthwhile.

Responsible Citizen

Sat, Aug 3, 2013 : 3:19 p.m.

Sorry typing on a tablet........not all children are as gifted as yours and their peers in their school obviously are. Hopefully, this will reach some children in whom an interest will be sparked and will better their lives.

Responsible Citizen

Sat, Aug 3, 2013 : 3:16 p.m.

To continue.....not all children are as gifted as yours and t

Responsible Citizen

Sat, Aug 3, 2013 : 3:14 p.m.

To aamom, not all children are as gifted as your


Sat, Aug 3, 2013 : 2 p.m.

Aamom,it depends on the teacher. Both of my kids excelled in math, reading, and writing, to varying degrees. Different teachers would provide extra work and things for them to do. The everyday math was always a joke to me. My kids fourth grade teacher got him an algebra text book to work out of. This teacher also provided individualized instruction for the kids, despite having 30 kids in the class, some of whom were special Ed. It really depends on the teacher.


Fri, Aug 2, 2013 : 10:56 p.m.

aamom, what you suggest will widen the gap----no can do ;)


Fri, Aug 2, 2013 : 8:35 p.m.

I have never heard of either the Toyota program or the GM program. I guess you have to be lucky enough to be in the class of a teacher that applies for it? I think money would be well spent to expand the curriculum for elementary kids who already know the lessons being taught. At our elementary school, my child, and 2 others in his class, scored at or above the 99% percentile on the NWEA in math. They had to sit through long lessons on math that were much too simple for them because they weren't lucky enough to get one of the teachers who works to find other more challenging work. Most likely, these kids sitting there bored because math comes easily to them are the ones who will become our next engineers but instead of keeping them challenged too, AAPS has no planned curriculum after a student masters the state standards. It doesn't even take any money, just a coordinated effort across each grade level.


Fri, Aug 2, 2013 : 5:26 p.m.

I think the Toyota funded Singapore approach is actually a better fit for AAPS. I know my children got very little from the PLTW work. Of course we still have not replaced the Everyday Math program with something that actually teaches math in Ann Arbor.

Howard Beale

Fri, Aug 2, 2013 : 5 p.m.

Pretty easy to throw money around after the taxpayers bail you out and the federal government allows you to wipe your balance sheet clean by stiffing employees, retirees, suppliers and stockholders in the process.

Responsible Citizen

Sat, Aug 3, 2013 : 3:13 p.m.

Agree with leaguebus. It would have been better for GM and Chrysler to go belly up and not be able to provide this opportunity, let alone the existing jobs and future jobs? Why do people make everything political? A grant to augment educational opportunities is not political, and hopefully, it will reach some students who might not be steered on that direction. I say good for you GM.


Sat, Aug 3, 2013 : 4:33 a.m.

So we would be better off if GM went out of business? Everyone would have gotten stiffed worse if that would have happened. Plus all the jobs lost. Oh, but thats what the Republicans wanted so they could keep the economy in a shambles and make the Obama administration look bad!


Fri, Aug 2, 2013 : 10:56 p.m.

Give it a rest it's done and over.GM did a good thing. BTW...I'm about as anti Obama as you can get

Colorado Sun

Fri, Aug 2, 2013 : 4:40 p.m.

GM should be applauded for their efforts in funding this.