Informal Interactions with Ken Washington

Ken Washington’s passion is leading Ford’s STEM and University Research Programs

Ford’s self-disruption is impacting the kinds of people it needs to attract and recruit. This is why the aim of Ford’s STEM program is to fill the talent pipeline with a more diverse pool of candidates.

For example, Ford works with the National Action Council for Minorities in Engineering and more than 50 colleges and universities across the US to support NACME Scholars from College-to-Career. NACME Partner Institutions graduate more than 30 percent of all US underrepresented minority engineering students (URMs) and collaborates with global companies to provide scholarships for more than 1,300 NACME Scholars annually. Ford’s role is to give NACME Scholars hands-on opportunities and exposure to the corporate world while in college.

The Ford High School Science and Technology Program, one of Ford’s first STEM programs, started in 1984 and offers high school students hands-on experiences from various skill teams around the company.

Ford is supporting the mission of the Girls in Engineering Academy by donating more than 40 laptops to underserved students in the program

On a local level, Ford supports its hometown through the Detroit Area Pre-College Engineering Program Mobile App Challenge, which is a six-week competition where students develop mobile apps for social impact. Also, Ford is donating laptops to the Girls in Engineering Academy, sponsoring the Detroit Public Schools Community District’s Breithaupt Career Technical Center, among other contributions.

Ford has been a longtime supporter of FIRST® (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) through the sponsorship of FRC, FTC and FLL teams, the FIRST in Michigan State Championships, the FIRST Championships and the Ford Autonomous Award.

Inspiring next-generation innovators has never been more important in a world where technology is transforming so many parts of our lives so quickly, and only is speeding up. This is why we are counting on a talented workforce of the type that FIRST’s efforts are helping us secure. Ford recently opened the Ford Robotics Building at the University of Michigan, Ford’s first campus-based research center. To build a more equitable pipeline, Ford Motor Company and the University of Michigan will be providing its robotics curriculum concurrently at Morehouse College, the HBCU (historically black colleges and universities) in Atlanta.