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GE invests $5 million in Cincinnati to increase diversity of young people pursuing engineering

Cory Sharber
UC President Neville Pinto (pictured right) and Dean of UC's College of Engineering and Applied Science John Weidner discuss how the Next Engineers program could impact students within the region on Oct. 13, 2021 at the GE Aviation Learning Center in Evendale.

General Electric will invest $5 million in Cincinnati over the next five years to increase the diversity of young people in engineering.

Cincinnati is one of four cities in the world taking part in GE's Next Engineers college-readiness program, which focuses on underrepresented students in grades eight to 12 to provide exposure to engineering, careers and potentially award scholarships. The program aims to reach more than 85,000 students in approximately 25 cities globally in the next decade.

The investment could reach 3,500 students ages 13-18 within Cincinnati. The University of Cincinnati will partner with GE to coordinate the program. UC President Neville Pinto says inclusivity is a core value of the university's strategic direction and the program could create future leaders in the industry.

"By aligning programs and services to ensure readiness, create access and foster success, we can achieve educational transformation and positively impact the future of our region and our society," Pinto said.

Pinto said the lack of access to high quality education for everyone has led to the region missing a large portion of the talent pool in engineering.

"As we face the big challenges of our time - for example, with respect to energy, transportation, sustainability - all of those are going to require solutions that talent is going to provide and that talent has to be prepared to find the solutions to those challenges," Pinto said.

John Weidner, Ph.D., is the dean of UC's College of Engineering and Applied Science. He says the investment will make students within the region more aware of engineering as a possible career choice.

"Put simply, the world needs engineers and I am confident that students in the Cincinnati area are the perfect group to fill that need," Weidner said.

Cory Sharber
Assistant Dean of Inclusive Excellence and Community Engagement Whitney Gaskins says the program could have an impact on the future success of students.

Whitney Gaskins, Ph.D., is the assistant dean of Inclusive Excellence and Community Engagement. She says involvement in engineering for students in grades 7-12 will have a direct impact on their success.

"They can be successful and be the next engineers that they may not even know that they are dreaming to be," Gaskins said.

Next Engineers consists of three programs, including the Engineering Academy for students ages 15-18 that would consist of 80 hours of programming outside of school. Students who complete the Engineering Academy and are accepted to a college engineering degree program could receive a $20,000 scholarship from the GE Foundation.