PPG Industries recently kicked off the second year of the PPG Adventures in Technology (AIT) program in the Greater Detroit area with program partner Catalyst Connection. The program is funded by a multiyear $75,000 pledge from the PPG Industries Foundation to help Catalyst Connection engage high school students and corporations in and around Detroit in 10-week collaborative projects.
"We are excited to be continuing the PPG AIT program in Greater Detroit," said Scott Dietz, manager of workforce initiatives, Catalyst Connection. "After proving its value in Pittsburgh, with more than 50 companies and more than 1,000 students participating through the years, we’re happy to see AIT taking hold in Detroit as well. Students are partnered with some really cool companies to help them build on skills they’ve learned in the classroom.”
The PPG AIT program aims to interest students in the science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) disciplines, and careers in manufacturing, by partnering them with local companies to tackle real-life business issues. This year, students from Detroit Cristo Rey High School are teaming with PPG’s automotive technology center in Troy on a project to determine the best color palette for a new hybrid/electric vehicle. The other two teams are Lakeland High School, White Lake, Mich., and Vicount Industries, Inc., and International Academy Macomb, Clinton Township, Mich., and Lunar Industries, Inc.
To give students a better feel for their project, PPG treated participating Detroit Cristo Rey High School students to the Ford Rouge Factory Tour, a portion of which enables viewing of the final assembly process for new Ford F-150s from an elevated walkway at Ford’s Dearborn, Mich., truck plant. The tour is one of five attractions of The Henry Ford in Dearborn, a National Historic Landmark and nonprofit organization with a mission to provide unique educational experiences based on authentic objects, stories and lives from America’s traditions of ingenuity, resourcefulness and innovation.
Cynthia Niekamp, PPG vice president, automotive coatings, based at the company’s automotive technology center in Troy, said, “PPG is strongly committed to supporting the communities where its employees work and live. We are proud that PPG AIT is providing an opportunity for Detroit-area students to explore various career choices, learn about teamwork and apply their classroom knowledge in the STEM disciplines to solving real-world problems.”
Established in 1951, the PPG Industries Foundation demonstrates the values of PPG Industries by enhancing the quality of life in communities where the company has a presence. Interests of the foundation, in order of priority, are education, human services, culture and arts, and civic and community affairs. PPG also supports charitable causes by encouraging employee volunteerism and executives’ involvement with nonprofit organizations.
About Detroit Cristo Rey High School
With a challenging and supportive program in the Cristo Rey Model, Detroit Cristo Rey High School (detroitcristorey.org) equips students from economically disadvantaged families in Detroit with core knowledge and competencies needed for college and the workplace. Its goal is to enable students to gain the skills to be successful in life and the commitment to make a difference in their families, their neighborhoods, and the world.
About Catalyst Connection
Catalyst Connection (catalystconnection.org) is a private, not-for-profit organization based in Pittsburgh that provides consulting and training services to small- to mid-size manufacturers in southwestern Pennsylvania, accelerating revenue growth and improved productivity. Through active collaboration with clients and the manufacturing community at large, Catalyst Connection contributes to the growth, vibrancy and ongoing robustness of manufacturing in the region.
PPG Industries’ vision is to continue to be the world’s leading coatings and specialty products company. Founded in 1883, the company serves customers in industrial, transportation, consumer products, and construction markets and aftermarkets. With headquarters in Pittsburgh, PPG (ppg.com) operates in more than 60 countries around the globe. Sales in 2009 were $12.2 billion. PPG shares are traded on the New York Stock Exchange (symbol: PPG).
Scott Dietz, Catalyst Connection