Durham, NC – A unique opportunity has been created for HBCU students interested in covering or working in the automobile industry from a media, marketing, and business perspective. Dubbed The Driving Force (TDF), founding members of the Black Automotive Media Group(BAMG) recruited 15 scholars to participate in the 10-week, virtual, field internship, which incorporates mentoring sessions, writing classes, video and photography production, and media courses.
“We are excited that Stellantis and the Black Automotive Media Group have engaged with NCCU students in providing this unique opportunity,” said Keisha Williams, director of marketing/communications NCCU School of Business. “The exposure to industry received through this experience will be of great significance to both their professional and academic lives.”
TDF evolved following discussions between automakers and BAMG relating to increased programming for deserving but often neglected schools. While those conversations began to improve the diversity and inclusion of African American journalists covering the industry, an idea presented itself to help prepare the next generation of automotive media professionals. With four HBCU and auto manufacturer partnerships established, this fall’s collaboration connects Stellantis with North Carolina Central University (NCCU) enrollees from the School of Business and the Department of Mass Communications.
“Possibilities! When BAMG visited NCCU’s campus to present our students with new possibilities and career development choices, they responded with eagerness and enthusiasm,” stated Brett Chambers, lecturer, Department of Mass Communication. “Correspondingly, they now have a keen understanding of the power of networking, so I look forward to this internship representing productive efforts for all parties involved.”
In its second year, TDF will expose interns to careers as journalists, videographers, marketers, publicists, digital media associates, and social media influencers within the auto industry. Students will showcase their work on various platforms during the program, including vehicle evaluations, video advertising projects, and content creation and hosting. They will also liaise with automotive executives from Stellantis and companies that support the industry, from Turtle Wax and Bose to JBL and Michelin.
“An important part of our longstanding, enterprise-wide commitment to diversity and inclusion is our investment in diverse people and communities sharing our success and expanding access to future opportunities,” said Lottie Holland, Director – Diversity, Inclusion, Engagement and EEO Compliance, Stellantis – North America. “We are excited to collaborate with the Black Automotive Media Group and North Carolina Central University to expand awareness of future career opportunities in the automotive industry for talented young people.”
TDF is led by respected media experts Kimatni D. Rawlins, publisher of Automotive Rhythms Communications, Greg Morrison from Bumper2Bumpertv, auto expert Marcus Amick, and an array of Black automotive media journalists and publishers.
“Our collaboration with Stellantis and North Carolina Central University marks the 4th diversity-focused and academic program for BAMG that allows us to extend new pathways to HBCU students,” stated BAMG founding member Kimatni D. Rawlins. “An internship with automaker Jaguar 25 years ago deeply influenced my decisions, ultimately leading to comprehensive experience and an extensive automotive career. Thus, creating similar opportunities for African American interns with a strong interest in this field represents another opportunity to uplift our kids.”
Greg Morrison, a Lincoln University alumnus whose 52-year career in the industry with media outlets such as CNN, NBC, The Black Family Channel, and others, said, “This brings my career full circle. Many events in our country led to the awareness that Blacks are underrepresented in many industries, and BAMG is proud to have created the synergy between the auto industry, HBCUs, and student media hopefuls.”