The Ford STEAM Lab Competition: Students Showcase Their Software Skills

Hosting one of the first ever “Hackathons,” Ford recently brought together 100 middle school students to promote STEM education. This competition stressed the importance of high-tech skills, encouraging kids to get more involved with software development.

FordAccording to Ford, the Ford STEAM Lab Competition awarded a scholarship each to the two best students. A $15,000 award and $12,500 award were given to two Michigan middle school students that showed the most promise. In order to organize the competition, Ford worked closely with the UAW to extend student participation opportunities.

“This event was designed to give students a voice in their education while learning software coding skills needed to be technology entrepreneurs,” said Shawn Wilson, manager of Multicultural Community Engagement at Ford. “What students taught us is just as valuable — utilize existing technology, develop flexible schedules so they can continue learning on their own time, and improve ways to communicate outside the classroom.”

This event is designed to encourage kids to get excited about STEM education, especially in fields related to the automotive industry. By doing so, Ford is looking to give students the best opportunities possible while at the same time strengthening the future of the auto industry.

The Upgraded Ford SYNC AppLink System: Introducing Drive Mode

Fusion DashboardWith all the recent innovations in vehicle connectivity and infotainment systems, it’s surprising to see that few automakers have developed drive modes – until now. Working with Life360, Ford has modified the Ford SYNC AppLink system with a Drive Mode to improve over all driver awareness and safety.

The new system features Life360, which is a very popular smartphone app used to keep families in touch (we’re talking 48 million families, so far). According to Ford, the new system will connect to your car via an app, which prompts Drive Mode. This tells people when the driver is busy on the road, and when they reach a destination. No more calling mom to say you got home safe.

“Responsible driving habits are top priorities at Ford Motor Company, and we are pleased to be working with Life360 to help reduce driver distractions,” said Julius Marchwicki, Ford Connected Services Product manager. “With the integration of Life360 Drive Mode, we are helping to keep drivers’ attention on the road by letting their loved ones know that they are behind the wheel.”

Ford demonstrated the App at the International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas to much success. SYNC is already available on 10 million cars worldwide, so hooking up the app is as easy as ever. Though a seemingly small upgrade, the new app could just save lives.



Spelman College Wins Second HBCU Community Challenge

FordFord has announced the winner of its second HBCU Community Challenge (Historically Black Colleges & Universities), and the victor is Spelman College. In this challenge, Ford wanted college students to create innovative projects that addressed community needs.

“The HBCU Community Challenge not only allows us to continue our efforts to give back to the African American community, but to do so in a way that encourages innovation and educational empowerment while directly supporting Historically Black Colleges & Universities,” said Pamela Alexander, director, Community Development, Ford Motor Company Fund, in a statement.

The Atlanta-based Spelman College group won $75,000 in scholarships and grants to help implement their project, which is geared towards helping families in the West End Atlanta neighborhood grow in-home vegetable gardens to create healthier meal options.

Spelman College was chosen from among three finalists, including Florida A&M Univeristy and Bethune-Cookman University.

In addition to the HBCU Community Challenge, Ford has invested more than $8 million this year in scholarships and other educational programs.

Here at Packey Webb Ford, we are proud to see Ford investing so much time, effort, and money into the next generation.

Ford Helps With Hunger Relief During Thanksgiving Season

FordIn the spirit of Thanksgiving, Ford showed how thankful it was by donating a new truck, an E-350, to The Salvation Army’s Bed & Bread Club. This truck will help to serve 5,000 meals a day to those in need in the city of Detroit.

The vehicle went into operation the week of Thanksgiving and joins the fleet of The Salvation Army’s program. This program provides the needy in the Detroit area with a sandwich, fruit, beverage, soup, and snack in city neighborhoods.

Not only that, but the Marathon Petroleum Corporation has provided a year of free gasoline to help keep the truck running and perpetuate the good work The Salvation Army is doing.

Jim Vella, president of Ford’s Company Fund and Community Services branch, commented, “We’re proud to help the Salvation Army’s Bed and Bread Club travel to those in need, because hunger never takes a holiday.” He continued on by saying, “By addressing the issue of hunger through other programs such as Ford Mobile Food Pantries, Ford Focus on Child Hunger and Meet Up and Eat Up, we are going further to create stronger communities.”

This donation is tied to many other charitable investments that Ford is making in other grants, vehicles, and other assistance across the US to assist in relieving hunger.

We at Packy Webb Ford are proud when Ford helps with hunger relief programs, and are glad to see our manufacturer getting into the holiday spirit.

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