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GM Student Corps Brightens Neighborhoods and Futures

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August 19, 2014

DETROIT – The second GM Student Corps ended today as General Motors executives, GM retiree mentors and GM student interns gathered to celebrate their summer of community revitalization. For many students and retirees, though, it’s only the beginning of new relationships aimed at helping students develop the teamwork and leadership skills to continue their success.gm student corps

“Last year, we were very focused on the task, getting the job done,” said GM retiree Deborah Eastern-Hall of Toledo, who spent her second summer at Osborn High School in Detroit. “This year, we spent more personal time with the students. At lunch, I’d launch the discussion – topics like the importance of having good credit, finding a home and getting a job – and the students talked as long as we let them.”

One hundred and six paid high school interns representing 12 schools, including the seven schools GM supports through the United Way Network of Excellence and Flint Southwestern Academy – new to the program this year – spent the summer cleaning parks and schools, clearing bush, planting flowers and shrubs, painting weather-beaten equipment and tackling other improvement projects they selected, planned and budgeted.

They also took part in weekly life skills training sessions, toured GM facilities and businesses, explored career opportunities and spent a day at University of Detroit Mercy.

Mark Reuss, executive vice president of Global Product Development, introduced the GM Student Corps last summer.

“Programs such as this show how we can give back to our communities while empowering our young people to succeed in the future,” he said. “It’s a summer internship with lifelong benefits for all.”

Of the 2013 GM Student Corps interns who were seniors, it’s estimated about a third are attending college. According to Mike DiGiovanni, a GM retiree and UDM economics professor who helped run the program both years, most of the 2014 class is college-bound and some are already dual-enrolled.

DiGiovanni, who with retired GM executive Larry Hice led the 60 retiree mentors and volunteers, said the retirees get as much out of the mentoring relationships as the students. Thirteen UDM students also hired as GM summer interns provided additional guidance and project support.

“University of Detroit Mercy’s faculty, staff and students are honored to partner with General Motors again on this important program,” said UDM President, Dr. Antoine Garibaldi. “Through the use of high school and college students, GM staff and retirees, and UDM employees, the GM Student Corps program is an excellent model of how more intergenerational leadership and service can benefit the entire Detroit region.”

“We’re here to get the best out of students and we love watching them grow,” said GM retiree Dawin Wright, whose team met with the owners of two vehicle dealerships, a former GMAC executive and a financial planner so they could experience the benefits of education and hard work.

Geneva Brooks spent her second summer as a GM Student Corps intern. She recently graduated from Cody High School in Detroit, where her team helped revitalize one of the city’s most troubled neighborhoods.

“It’s not just the program – the retirees stay in touch with us,” said Brooks. “We have lots of deep conversations about what’s going on in our lives.”

General Motors Co. (NYSE:GM, TSX: GMM) and its partners produce vehicles in 30 countries, and the company has leadership positions in the world's largest and fastest-growing automotive markets. GM, its subsidiaries and joint venture entities sell vehicles under the Chevrolet, Cadillac, Baojun, Buick, GMC, Holden, Jiefang, Opel, Vauxhall and Wuling brands. More information on the company and its subsidiaries, including OnStar, a global leader in vehicle safety, security and information services, can be found at http://www.gm.com.

University of Detroit Mercy is Michigan’s largest private Catholic University, with more than 100 academic majors and programs. Sponsored by the Society of Jesus (the Jesuits) and the Sisters of Mercy, the University has campuses located in downtown and northwest Detroit. UDM is one of 28 Jesuit colleges and universities and the largest of 17 Mercy institutions of higher education in the United States. For the 13th consecutive year, University of Detroit Mercy is listed in the top tier of Midwest in the 2014 edition of the U.S. News and World Report's "Best Colleges."

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