PLYMOUTH, MICH., JUNE 27, 2017 -- In an effort to foster growth of the next generation of engineers, technologists and scientists, HELLA has commenced its first-ever renewable scholarship program. The lighting and electronics company’s unique offering, the HELLA Scholars Program, will award multiple $10,000 annual scholarships to qualifying high school seniors and current university students, as well as year-round career experience at the HELLA Corporate Center campus in Plymouth.
HELLA launched its pilot program with eight Scholar positions. Candidates were considered from a group of approximately 30 applicants, most of whom graduated this year from Plymouth-Canton Community Schools and were involved in the district’s STEM Academy. These selected scholars began working side-by-side with mentors at HELLA this month.
“Investing in people and developing a strong pool of technical talent by giving them the tools they need to excel in their careers is a key focus at HELLA,” said Jörg Weisgerber, CEO of HELLA Electronics for North and South America. “This program allows us to invest in our community, and give the next generation of STEM professionals and, ultimately, future HELLA innovators, the opportunity to jumpstart their careers.”
With the Scholars program, HELLA is setting itself apart from other automotive companies that also have current talent needs exceeding the current workforce supply. By creating this scholarship to develop talent, HELLA is doing more than just talking about the issue – it is making a significant monetary investment to correct it.
To ensure their time at HELLA is a success, students are matched up with HELLA mentors who will guide them through their career path in lighting, electronics, components and beyond.
“This truly is a fantastic opportunity for students who are committed to the STEM field,” said Nick Brandon, director of communications for Plymouth-Canton Community Schools. “We’re privileged to collaborate with HELLA on this unique program and give our students a chance to not only secure financial support, but also paid, hands-on experience. We can’t wait to see the impact this program has on the lives of our graduating students.”
To be considered for the scholars program, selection criteria includes:
- Showing proof of their acceptance to an accredited, local university (within reasonable commuting distance)
- Achieving a minimum GPA of 3.0
- Attending college with the intent of obtaining a degree in a related STEM field
- Successfully completing an interview with HELLA leadership
Beyond the criteria above, award recipients are required to commit to working at HELLA five to 40 hours per week (depending on their course load), year-round. Scholars receive between $12-17 per hour.
“I am thrilled to be part of this program where HELLA is offering so many wonderful opportunities to learn and grow in the business world,” said Grace Warmann, a 17-year-old HELLA Scholar from Plymouth. “This is an excellent way for us to gain experience in the workplace and understand how to apply the material we learn in school.”
HELLA plans to continue the program for new graduating seniors at Plymouth-Canton Community Schools, with intentions of selecting up to five more students to join the program each year. Scholars already participating in the program will be encouraged to reapply annually for the $10,000 scholarship, which can be awarded for a maximum of $40,000 for four years of college tuition per student.
This is one of many initiatives the company plans to take on in the coming years as part of a renewed focus on building STEM education opportunities and bridging the talent gap in the automotive industry. If the program is deemed successful, the company will look at the potential to duplicate the project at other U.S. facilities in the future.