DTE Energy Foundation Emphasizes Diverse Workforce and Expands Educational Opportunities in Michigan

Grants will fund women and minority leadership activities, college advancement programs, STEM education events, and climate change curriculums

The DTE Energy Foundation announced it has awarded $1.25 million in grants to four Michigan organizations committed to advancing critical education and employment programs that benefit Michigan students and residents.

The grant recipients include the Michigan Hispanic Collaborative, Cranbrook Institute of Science, FIRST in Michigan and Inforum Michigan.

“Education and workforce development programs are the building blocks for any economy, and it is vital that we support and diversify our state’s employee pipeline in a way that benefits women, minorities and all residents,” said Lynette Dowler, president, DTE Foundation. “These four organizations conduct programs that deliver meaningful results for K-12 and college age students, strengthening Michigan’s economy, diversifying our workforce and reducing the legacy of poverty in some of our communities.”

These latest grants place greater emphasis on programs that create more opportunity and inclusion for underrepresented residents in Michigan. The DTE Foundation is committed to taking intentional steps to support innovative education and employment initiatives in Michigan, especially those that break down barriers of inequity.

“Supporting Hispanic students and families is a key lever for the economic sustainability of Michigan and the nation,” said Michigan Hispanic Collaborative’s Executive Director Anita Martinez. “We work one-on-one with students to help them succeed, while expanding awareness on cultural relevancy and important professional experiences. As a Latina, born and raised in Southwest Detroit, this work is very important to me, as I recognize myself in the students we assist, and we appreciate the DTE Foundation’s support in elevating these efforts.”

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$500,000 for Michigan Hispanic Collaborative

Through its La Próxima Generación program, the Michigan Hispanic Collaborative provides resources and support to college-bound students aged 16-26 and their families. The programming addresses access inequities that have been barriers for Hispanic students, limiting their ability to attend college and obtain employment that provides a living wage. MiHC offers in-school seminars and online support that focuses on life skills, college access, career readiness, and mentorship.

Today, 40% of Hispanics in Detroit live in poverty. This grant will help reduce the Hispanic poverty rate by opening doors to higher education and improving economic mobility for teens and young adults.

$450,000 for Cranbrook Institute of Science

This grant will be used to develop climate change education curriculum, cover funding for a Fellowship program and sponsorship of the Women Rock Science event.

Over the next three years, staff will develop and deliver climate change education programs to 200 elementary and middle school classes in public schools in Detroit, Ecorse, Hamtramck, Romulus, and Trenton, as well as the César Chávez Academy. All academic programs will be led by program Fellows or experienced Institute educators and will align with State and District standards.

The Fellowship program will fund one individual for two years who will develop and deliver programming focused largely on climate change for under-resourced PK-12th grade classrooms. The individual will also participate in Cranbrook’s Educational Community Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, Accessibility (DEIA) learning and engagement opportunities.

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$200,000 for FIRST in Michigan

This funding will support the FIRST Robotics Competition and FIRST Tech Challenge, serving high school and middle school students. These annual competitions involve student robotics team working with professional mentors to develop new innovations.

This grant will cover registration fees for legacy and at-risk high school and middle school teams throughout Michigan. They also support the exciting, sports-like competitions where students can test their innovations and make improvements in the hopes of advancing to the next level of play.

In the 2021-22 season, the DTE Foundation sponsored 46 high school and middle school FIRST teams throughout Michigan.

$100,000 for Inforum inSTEM   

Inforum accelerates careers for women and is a catalyst for removing barriers and increasing opportunity. The objective of its inSTEM initiative is to deploy female role models to inspire and inform students and young adults that STEM career paths are available to females in addition to men. As of earlier this year, 451 women mentors in STEM careers have influenced 6,064 students and young professional as role models, speakers or project leaders in STEM-oriented events.

This grant supports the continuation of this work, as well as other initiatives including career exploration, introduction to opportunities for apprenticeships and skilled trades programs, exposure to companies with workforce opportunities targeted to females and mentoring for girls and women choosing this path.

Additionally, the grant will fund the research and development of an app-based mentorship program for high school and college students and young STEM professionals.

The DTE Energy Foundation is dedicated to cultivating diverse, inclusive, and equitable communities and supports initiatives focused on arts and culture, community transformation, economic progress, education and employment, environment and human needs.

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