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How Young People Are Finding Their Future in Michigan

December 6, 2023

View the session recording below.

Today’s automotive and mobility careers are no longer limited to manufacturing and factory positions like they used to be. Now, they include high-tech skills and positions, including implementing AI and coding. During the 2023 MichAuto Summit, Nando Felten, Google Code Next Detroit’s Community Manager, and Caroline McDade, Intec Automated Controls Inc.’s Controls Software Apprentice, talked with Jer Staes, Daily Detroit’s Co-founder, Producer, and Host, about their career journeys, why they chose to stay in Michigan, and their role in MichAuto’s You Drive the Future campaign.

On Finding Community and Sense in Michigan

The conversation initiated with why both panelists chose to begin their careers in Michigan. McDade emphasized that the “career opportunities are spectacular” in Michigan, highlighting the MTech program she participated in at her local community college and the misconceptions surrounding the field.

“I think there are misconceptions that you need to be extremely educated or that if you don’t see yourself as traditionally educated that you can’t fulfill those roles of those people that are traditionally educated,” said McDade.

Felten emphasized how special the sense of community is, given his role as a community manager, which included a degree in mechanical engineering and an internship at Ford Motor Company that helped him cultivate his passion for helping individuals realize their potential and belonging.

“If I can do these things, then why can’t others do it too…My space in this work is to help people become who they can be,” said Felten.

On Creating STEM Exposure Through You Drive the Future

McDade joined the You Drive the Future campaign when she was contacted by a representative from the MTech program she participated in and is thrilled to help showcase to this generation “that they can take a leap of faith and be a part of these careers without it being overwhelming and so far out of reach.”

Felten, a Detroit Promise recipient, became involved with the campaign through the Detroit Regional Chamber and is excited when students he knows interact with You Drive the Future’s social media platforms and STEM content.

“Michigan is a place where so many things have been spearheaded … There are tons of tech startups right down the street,” said Felten. “I know a lot of [my friends] left after college to go elsewhere, but staying in Michigan and having ownership …This is one of the coolest places to be right now.”

Both panelists are excited about the future of the STEM field and hope to answer young students’ questions about mobility and see their imagination and inspiration come to life.

“I want to see the kids we are talking to and interacting with online become a part of this conversation. I want to open the doors to everyone who might have a perspective that they feel is valuable,” said McDade.

Get Involved

Want your company featured in You Drive the Future? Nominate a young professional on your team by contacting Maddie Thomas at mthomas@michauto.org.