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Volkswagen and Morgan State University celebrate first year of The Driving Force internship program

Formed with the Black Automotive Media Group (BAMG), the program educates students on career opportunities within the automotive industry

Reston, VA — Volkswagen Group of America is unified by a shared mission and commitment to putting our expertise, innovation and vision to work for the greater good: thus, the company is proud to announce the expansion of The Driving Force internship program to the Volkswagen brand at Morgan State University in Baltimore, Maryland.

This unique internship program was first formulated in 2020 by the Black Automotive Media Group (BAMG) to expose students at Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) to career opportunities within the automobile industry. Dubbed The Driving Force (TDF), the 10-week internship is comprised of training and mentoring sessions that educate students on career opportunities within the automotive industry, including marketing, multimedia, PR, content creation and publishing. The liaisons between Volkswagen and BAMG are Vicki Miles, Diversity and Inclusion Senior Consultant, and Kendra Patterson, Fleet Ordering & Delivery Senior Specialist and president of the African and African American Employee Resource Group.

This is the first year Volkswagen Brand has sponsored the program, introducing it to students at Morgan State University in Baltimore, Maryland. The inaugural class at Morgan State included 18 students, more than 70 percent of whom were female. Under the Audi brand, Volkswagen Group has offered a TDF program at North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University since 2020.

“Diversity matters.  It matters for the health of a community and it matters in business because it has been proven time and again to contribute to the success of organizations,” said Andrew Savvas, Chief Sales & Marketing Officer, Volkswagen North American Region. “Business can play a significant role in helping promote diversity and developing diverse leaders who future generations can relate and aspire to.”

The TDF internship provides opportunity for students to gain experience and exposure to the automotive industry by offering them access to industry leaders and professionals who can offer insight, guidance, and mentorship. The program helps automotive brands such as Volkswagen to build diverse talent pipelines, while helping students develop important skills, such as communication, teamwork, and problem-solving.

“Our interaction with Volkswagen and BAMG’s “The Driving Force” internship greatly exceeded our expectations,” said Jackie Jones, Dean and Professor of Journalism AT Morgan State’s School of Global Journalism & Communication. “They ‘get’ our students while raising the journalistic bar, thus creating communication opportunities within the auto industry. Founders and instructors Greg Morrison and Kimatni Rawlins were inspiring and, pardon the pun, hard-driving. The students loved the program and it showed in their final content creation projects. I couldn’t be more delighted with this partnership.”

Volkswagen Brand and Group leaders held weekly virtual sessions with Morgan State students, speaking to their areas of expertise and discussing the skills required in their respective roles, along with advice on navigating the corporate workspace. The interactive sessions allowed students to directly connect with the guest speakers, providing valuable insight and information. The culmination of the program included a panel discussion where Cameron Batten, Chief Communications Officer, Volkswagen Group of America, spoke with students in the School of Journalism and Global Communications along with Dean Jackie Jones.

“BAMG’s collaboration with Morgan State creates new career pathways for our bright students,” said Kimatni D. Rawlins, BAMG founder and publisher of Automotive Rhythms Communications. “Data from the U.S. Census predicts minorities will be the “Future Majority” by 2045. Through TDF’s internship, we are helping prepare HBCU students for career development while supporting automakers for the rapidly changing demographic profile in the United States.”

Volkswagen wishes all the best for the inaugural TDF participants and the entire 2024 Morgan State University graduating class.

About Volkswagen

Volkswagen of America, Inc. is an operating unit of Volkswagen Group of America, which is a subsidiary of Volkswagen AG. Headquartered in Reston, Virginia, Volkswagen of America sells the Arteon, Atlas, Atlas Cross Sport, Golf GTI, Golf R, ID.4, Jetta, Jetta GLI, Taos, and Tiguan vehicles through more than 600 independent U.S. dealers. Volkswagen Group of America operates a state-of-the-art assembly facility in Chattanooga, Tennessee which produces Volkswagen brand vehicles including the Atlas, Atlas Cross Sport, and the ID.4. The global Volkswagen Group is one of the world’s largest producers of passenger cars and Europe’s largest automaker. Visit Volkswagen online at www.vw.com or media.vw.com to learn more.

About the Black Automotive Media Group

The BAMG is a distinguished group of African-American publishers, writers, editors, media talent, and entrepreneurs representing over 100 years of combined experience in the automotive sphere within television, radio, print, experiential marketing, and social media content creation. BAMG members either work for or own various automotive media platforms targeting diverse audiences. BAMG’s core objective is to level the playing field and help foster opportunities for Black professionals who work in and around the automotive industry. www.AutomotiveRhythms.com.

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