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Ford Kicks Off Thirty Under 30 Volunteerism Program

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Bill Ford at a Thirty Under 30 meeting

Ford today kicks off its Thirty Under 30 corporate leadership course, an initiative announced last year as an effort to encourage philanthropy and education among its young employees.

The year-long course will take 30 Ford employees from different aspects of the company’s operations and partner them with non-profit organizations to develop strategies for bettering communities. Three organizations located in or near Detroit were chosen for the inaugural year of the project: The United Way for Southeastern Michigan, Detroit Rescue Mission Ministries, and The Salvation Army Eastern Michigan Division.

The project was originally announced by Bill Ford last year, along with the Bill Ford Better World Challenge. Ford was present when representatives from the three Detroit-area organizations met recently with the 30 Ford employees to discuss plans.

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“We only are as good as the people in our organization and in our community,” Ford said. “Millennials are the future. To spearhead change, we must help younger generations thrive, which includes cultivating their growing comprehension that it is not about what you get for yourself, but what you do for other people.”

Ford targeted the program toward employees under the age of 30 in particular because of their proclivities toward volunteerism. According to a study from The Corporation for National and Community Service, more than 82% percent of Millennials volunteer on at least an informal basis, and a 2015 Achieve study found that 70% of Millennials spent at least one hour volunteering for an important cause last year.

The 30 employees involved are all instructed in the concept of “design thinking,” or problem-solving methodology that develops creative and collaborative skills, innovative thinking, and empathy.

“This is a unique opportunity to work with not-for-profits in a way I never have before,” said fellow PJ Wascher, a Syracuse University graduate who does IT work for Ford. “The idea of design thinking is going to allow us to think outside of the box, to come up with a model for how we’re going to come up with innovative ideas for these charities. The empathy topic is huge. It not only applies here; but the more we can empathize, the better we can be in life and on our jobs.”

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