Kia Georgia Partners with SAE to Bring STEM Experiences to Youth
Since 2012, Kia Georgia and SAE International have partnered together to reach over 83,000 students in over 60 schools. Their partnership is fueled by spreading the joy of STEM learning to kids in Kia communities in Georgia and Alabama. A signature regional event was launched in 2013; since then, the SAE JetToy Competition has grown to reach 400-600 students annually. Here are a few highlights from the conversation this spring with Rick Douglas, Senior Manager, Team Relations, Kia Georgia.
How does your partnership with SAE help you achieve your corporate social responsibilities and community relations goals?
“What we’re trying to accomplish is to engage students with their local communities and make them aware of what opportunities are out there. Partnering with the SAE Foundation and the A World In Motion® (AWIM®) program, we can help prepare students for whatever their selective path will be.”
Can you tell us about your experience volunteering with SAE’s AWIM program and what kind of impact that participation has had on Kia Georgia employees and the culture?
“As the program grew, we started offering our team members to go into the classroom to support the program. It allows them to be a part of the bigger picture. These volunteers make a connection with students about what their learning and how they can apply those lessons into the working world.”
Why is it important for Kia to reach those younger students, and how does that fit into your community relations goals?
“The AWIM program is a part of the larger strategic effort to support STEM subjects and their STEM careers. Engaging them early and often make a positive impact on the students who graduate and become productive members of our community. Kids that have been exposed to AWIM come through school and have become interns here at Kia Georgia.”
What advice do you have for other companies that are just starting out and forming their STEM outreach strategy?
“Talk to the school system, understand what they do and what their needs are. It’s important to remember this is a partnership between your organization and the school system. Make it your own; what are your company’s strengths and goals? Do you have a flexible work environment where you could allow volunteers to go to the schools? Do you have space available where you can support different competitions?”
Watch the full Q&A session with Kia Georgia: