The Driving Force internship provides multimedia career development with the goal of increasing automobile industry diversity, equity, and inclusion
In 2020, a unique internship was created between the Department of Mass Communications at North Carolina Central University (NCCU), automobile manufacturer Stellantis, and the Black Automotive Media Group (BAMG).
Dubbed The Driving Force (TDF), the 10-week internship is designed for students interested in covering the automobile industry and incorporates instruction in editorial content, video content production, and social media outreach; augmented by Stellantis presentations that showcase additional career opportunities within the automotive industry.
For the fall 2023 academic semester, TDF continues with its third NCCU/Stellantis collaboration. “This has been a tremendous opportunity for our students,” said Calvin Hall, chair of the NCCU Department of Mass Communication. “It supplements the high-quality classroom instruction they receive with top-notch professional mentorship and shows them paths for using the skills they develop in the major.”
TDF was created following conversations between automakers and the BAMG relating to increased programming for deserving but often neglected Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). Exposing participating interns to the lack of automotive industry media professionals was the initial focus of TDF. Now, a renewed focus on the dearth of minority representation across all auto industry professions will be a core tenet of this year’s session. Presentations by Stellantis, including profiles of key company executives and managers, will give interns a much broader view of industry opportunities.
“Recruiting and developing diverse talent is central to our business strategy and critical to our success in designing innovative products,” said Lottie Holland, vice president of diversity, inclusion, engagement, and EEO compliance at Stellantis North America. “Partnering with the Black Automotive Media Group and North Carolina Central University for the third consecutive year is an outstanding opportunity to inspire, empower, and mentor talented future leaders. It’s also a great opportunity to showcase how dynamic, innovative, and electrifying the automotive industry can be.”
This fall’s TDF instructors are Kimatni D. Rawlins, BAMG founder and publisher of Automotive Rhythms Communications; Tony C. Lesesne, co-founder and chief creative officer of Lesesne Media Group Entertainment; and NCCU alumna Tia Knowles, who excelled in the first Driving Force program.
“BAMG’s third collaboration with Stellantis and North Carolina Central University cements the commitment to continue to extend new pathways to HBCU students,” said Rawlins. “Data from the U.S. Census predicts minorities will be the ‘Future Majority’ by 2045. Now is the time to prepare students of color for the rapidly changing demographic landscape here in the United States.”
TDF exposes interns to careers as editorial and broadcast journalists, marketers, publicists, and digital media pundits within the automotive space. Students will showcase their work on various platforms during the program, including written vehicle evaluations, marketing projects, and video content creation and hosting. They will also interact with automotive executives from Stellantis.
“We are excited to partner with the Black Automotive Media Group and Stellantis once again, a worldwide sustainable mobile tech company. Our students benefitted from the initial opportunity, and we’re looking forward to adding more scholars this fall for an even greater experience,” stated Brett Chambers, lecturer at NCCU Department of Mass Communications.
“We are excited to partner with the Black Automotive Media Group and Stellantis once again, a worldwide sustainable mobile tech company,” said Brett Chambers, a lecturer who serves as an instructor for the internship courses in the NCCU Department of Mass Communication. “Our students benefitted from the initial opportunity, and we’re looking forward to adding more scholars this fall for an even greater experience.”
Stellantis (NYSE: STLA) is one of the world’s leading automakers and a mobility provider. In North America, it’s best known for producing and selling vehicles in a portfolio of iconic and award-winning brands such as Jeep, Chrysler, Dodge, Ram, Alfa Romeo, and Fiat. Powered by its diversity, Stellantis leads the way the region and the world move – aspiring to become the greatest sustainable mobility tech company, not the biggest, while creating added value for all stakeholders as well as the communities in which it operates. For more information, visit www.stellantis.com.
About the NCCU Department of Mass Communication
The mission of the Department of Mass Communication is to prepare students for careers and study in mass communication. The department offers engaged learning, student media and research experiences and connections to professional practice opportunities. The department values the comprehensive preparation of graduates with an understanding of the ethical, practical, and theoretical foundations in the field and an understanding of and appreciation for cultural diversity.
About the Black Automotive Media Group
The BAMG is a distinguished group of African-American reporters, publishers, writers, and entrepreneurs representing over 100 years of combined experience in automotive journalism within radio, television, print, experiential marketing, and social media. BAMG members work for or own various automotive media platforms targeting diverse audiences. BAMG’s primary objective is to bring equity and equality to Black professionals who work in and around the automotive industry. For more information, visit www.AutomotiveRhythms.com.