The Driving Force Internship: 4-Year Anniversary of Moving HBCU Students Forward

Experienced by Kimatni D. Rawlins, Founder

Wow, I can’t believe it has been four years already! In 2020, my partner Greg Morrison and I created a unique academic partnership between HBCUs and the automotive industry, which we run through our coalition, the Black Automotive Media Group.

Since then, more than 300 students from key HBCUs have participated in “The Driving Force” internship experience. In addition to learning about career opportunities for journalism and mass communication majors, they also developed networking skills not taught in the classroom.

The Internship project grew out of the racial reckoning in this country after the murder of George Floyd, which prompted a series of intense and occasionally uncomfortable conversations with the auto industry regarding Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. So far, so good!

Partnerships include (included):

Ford and Howard University, Audi and NC A&T, Audi and Lincoln University, Stellantis and NC Central, Hyundai and FAMU, GM and Clark Atlanta, VW and Morgan State, Nissan and JSU, and INFINITI and TSU.

We recognize that not every participant will seek a career in the mobility industry, but they will graduate with a greater understanding of corporate culture. That alone will give them and potential employers a head start with the recruiting and hiring process.

Building bridges and spearheading lifelong connections has been more than fulfilling for the two of us as well as our instructors.

“Absolutely amazing is how I would describe The Driving Force,” said NCCU graduate Tia Knowles, who excelled in the first program. “I highly recommend students participate if given the opportunity since it enhanced my professionalism in various ways, grew my network tremendously, and created mentors for life!”

Our greatest achievement and contribution to humanity has been the upliftment of our sons and daughters. Each one, reach one!

“Education is the passport to the future, for tomorrow belongs to those who prepare for it today.” – Malcolm X.

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