A possible model for corporate involvement in the inner city: GM and Detroit

8 Aug

Carolee Adams reported in the Education Week article, Internship Pairs Detroit Students With GM Retirees:

The Cody team is one of 11 in the Student Corps in what started as a summer employment program, but morphed into a comprehensive experience that combines service, life-skills education, and mentoring. All told, 110 high school students, 60 retirees, and 12 college interns are involved in this, its first year. Since 2010, when the GM Foundation gave $27 million to the United Way to create “networks of excellence” in a handful of high-need area schools, company liaisons have been working with students. Last fall, the idea of a summer internship program emerged.
GM retirees, who oversee the teams, give encouragement to students who are growing up in a city that just filed for bankruptcy, where many grocery stores have bars on the windows, unemployment is higher than the national average at 16.3 percent, and about one-third of the population lives below the poverty line.
“It’s not like this everywhere,” Mr. Wright told his charges in a mentoring session during lunch. “Until you see something different [from Detroit], that’s the way you think it is.”
Broad Exposure
Company officials wanted to do more for schools than write a check. So they turned to Mike DiGiovanni, 65, a retired GM executive, and asked him to become the director of the Student Corps and recruit fellow retirees.
“Our program is unique because it’s not just putting kids to work, it’s teaching them about life,” said Mr. DiGiovanni “It’s giving them a paid internship and GM on their résumé to set them up for life. This is about exposing them to the skills and education they need to succeed in life.”
The retirees wanted the summer to be about more than cleaning up parks. The organizers soon realized the breadth of retiree talent and considered how to fill rainy days with activities, said Heidi Magyar, the manager of Student Corps. Also, the company had miscalculated the caliber of the students—most have aspirations to go to college—so the program expanded in response.
“These kids have grit. They are determined to be successful in life,” said Mr. DiGiovanni. “Their need and drive was way beyond what we anticipated.”
Research solidly shows that having a mentor can help students from disadvantaged backgrounds who often don’t have the support system and social capital needed to make it in college, said David Conley, the director of the Center for Educational Policy
Research at the University of Oregon, in Eugene. Mentors “take something that is abstract and make it real,” he said.
The transition process from high school to college is far more complex and demanding than most schools acknowledge, said Mr. Conley. In these kinds of programs, students learn skills that help them feel more in control of their lives, which is a huge step in the process of getting ready for college, Mr. Conley said…..http://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2013/08/07/37career.h32.html?tkn=ZRSF2oKy2uM74XRBHRHnMIyyPZ0JBSHWUR4u&cmp=clp-edweek&intc=es

The GM program is not only an example of corporate involvement, but it provides mentors and guidance to children who may be at-risk.

One of the mantras of this blog is that education is a partnership between the student, parent(s) or guardian(s), teacher(s), and the school. All parts of the partnership must be involved.
Many educators have long recognized that the impact of social class affects both education achievement and life chances after completion of education. There are two impacts from diversity, one is to broaden the life experience of the privileged and to raise the expectations of the disadvantaged. Social class matters in not only other societies, but this one as well. Two key segments of this society are not as successful as other parts of society in high school graduation rates. The Schott Foundation released the study, The Urgency of Now: The Schott 50 State Report on Public Education and Black Male. Learn more at: http://www.schottfoundation.org and http://blackboysreport.org/
So, the question becomes how to give children the values that they might receive if they were in a healthy family. Youth Guidance, is another program which attempts to meet that need with the “Becoming A Man” program.

Youth Guidance describes “Becoming a Man” (BAM):

Youth Guidance’s B.A.M. (Becoming A Man™) – Sports Edition is a school-based counseling, mentoring, violence prevention and educational enrichment program that promotes social, emotional and behavioral competencies in at-risk male youth. B.A.M – Sports Edition’s curriculum addresses six core values: integrity, accountability, self-determination, positive anger expression, visionary goal-setting and respect for women, as each value relates to personal and academic success.
B.A.M. – Sports Edition addresses key challenges African-American and Latino youth confront daily in some of Chicago’s toughest communities.B.A.M. – Sports Edition focuses exclusively on males because they are vastly more likely than females to be either victims or perpetrators of violent crime. Youth Guidance’s Anthony DiVittorio, L.C.P.C. created B.A.M. in response to an observation that his male students often lacked physical and emotional access to their fathers or other positive male role models. DiVittorio designed the B.A.M. curriculum around an innovative application of Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT) techniques, resiliency theory and rites of passage “men’s work” that have been demonstrated to successfully help youth improve self-regulation, social skills, and interpersonal skills.B.A.M. is invested in helping youth improve life-long protective factors and reduce behavioral risk factors.
Over the course of 30 weekly sessions, B.A.M. – Sports Edition participants engage in developmentally-based lessons and challenges that promote their emotional literacy, impulse-control, social competence, positive peer relations and interpersonal problems-solving skills. B.A.M. – Sports Editionis designed to help students pass classes, reduce both in-school and out of school suspensions, reduce detentions, increase school attendance, reduce disciplinary problems, and support grade promotion.
Results of the study released in 2012 show that B.A.M. works and is cost-effective. Program participants saw a 10 percent increase in graduation rates, a reduction in failing grades by 37 percent, and a decrease in violent crime arrests by 44 percent. At a cost of $1,100 per participant, the Crime Lab estimates the social benefit/cost ratio to be at least 3:1 per participating youth.
“The University of Chicago Crime Lab study shows that Youth Guidance’s B.A.M. program reduces youth violence, increases school achievement and helps Chicago’s young men reach their full potential. ‘Becoming a Man’ helps young men find evidence of their worth, strengthen their connection to and success in school, and help build safer communities,” stated Youth Guidance’s CEO Michelle Morrison.
B.A.M.’s curriculum is built on six B.A.M. Core Values
Here are the BAM Core Values:
1.INTEGRITY – is the core principle of the program. Students learn to identify and respect societal values and to conduct themselves in accordance with those values. Students learn that a man’s word should have meaning, and that a man’s integrity is dependent on keeping his word. Students learn that a man is someone who is reliable, honest and in touch with his integrity or lack thereof. He makes amends when he is out of integrity, and does what he says he is going to do.
2. ACCOUNTABILITY – Students learn that they should be responsible for the choices that they make and take ownership for their feelings, thoughts and behaviors. Students learn that a man does not project, or put blame onto others for the consequences of his own bad choices. A man can feel anger, sadness or fear, but he must own his reactions to those emotions.
3. SELF-DETERMINATION – is a learned skill, and practice begins in B.A.M. group. Students learn the importance of focus and perseverance in reaching one’s goals. Students learn to deal with self-defeating feelings, thoughts and behaviors that can become obstacles or barriers to goal-attainment. Students learn that self-doubt, uncertainty, and moments of weakness are natural when attempting to reach a goal.
4.POSITIVE ANGER EXPRESSION – is the most effective and remembered lesson taught in the program. Students learn that anger is a normal emotion that can be expressed in a constructive manner. This skill allows for the alleviation of angry feelings and becomes a bridge to goal attainment. Students learn anger management coping skills such as deep breathing exercises to elicit a relaxation response. Students learn effective techniques to express anger that avoid typical negative consequences (i.e. suspensions, arrests, damaged relationships, etc.).
5.VISIONARY GOAL SETTING – Students learn the difference between short-term and long-term goals and how to create realistic steps toward goal attainment. Students learn to envision their manhood in the future and to make clear connections between their current behaviors, attitudes and values and their vision. During this intense phase, students aim to get in touch with traumas, pains and faulty thinking that cause them to act in negative, destructive manners. They learn how to heal these parts of themselves and to use the energy toward attaining their vision. Not all students are ready for this phase of the program. However, it can be a life altering phase for those who are.
6. RESPECT FOR WOMANHOOD – Students go through three stages of learning. First, there are lectures and discussions around the history and contemporary roles that women have held in society. Students are challenged to take a critical look at which norms represent positive value and appreciation as opposed to depreciation, devaluing and oppression. Second, students learn concrete positive communication skills and begin using them during their interactions. As a result, students enter the final stage of training, wherein they increase their value and appreciation of womanhood.
B.A.M. – Sports Edition places special emphasis on issues surrounding respect and integrity. This value reinforces those important messages at a deeper level.

See, Therapy Helps Troubled Teens Rethink Crime http://www.npr.org/blogs/health/2013/07/02/188646607/therapy-helps-troubled-teens-rethink-crime?utm_medium=Email&utm_source=share&utm_campaign=

It is going to take coordination between not only education institutions, but a strong social support system to get many of these children through school. This does not mean a large program directed from Washington. But, more resources at the local school level which allow discretion with accountability. For example, if I child is not coming to school because they have no shoes or winter coat, then the child gets new shoes and/or a coat. School breakfast and lunch programs must be supported and if necessary, expanded. Unfortunately, schools are now the early warning system for many families in crisis. In addition, to families and schools, corporate support can be useful in helping to move at-risk children into the mainstream.


‘Becoming A Man’ course: Helping young African-American men avoid prison

Study: The plight of African-American boys in Oakland, California

Schott Foundation report: Black and Latino boys are not succeeding in high school

We give up as a society: Jailing parents because kids are truant

Jonathan Cohn’s ‘The Two Year Window’

Who says Black children can’t learn? Some schools get it https://drwilda.com/2012/03/22/who-says-black-children-cant-learn-some-schools-gets-it/

Inappropriate discipline: The first step on the road to education failure

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One Response to “A possible model for corporate involvement in the inner city: GM and Detroit”


  1. Study: Troubled teens likely to be successful entrepreneurs | drwilda - August 23, 2013

    […] The GM program is not only an example of corporate involvement, but it provides mentors and guidance to children who may be at-risk. https://drwilda.com/2013/08/08/a-possible-model-for-corporate-involvement-in-the-inner-city-gm-and-de… […]

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