Story at a glance
- Ford Motor Co. is making a big push to modernize the city of Detroit into a hub for electric and self-driving vehicles.
- The car manufacturer bought Michigan’s Central Station and intends to turn it into a high-tech hub and now Google has joined in on the project.
- Google will offer free access to its Carrer Certificates program and graduates will be considered for relevant jobs at Ford.
Once the country’s epicenter of car manufacturing, Detroit is attempting to modernize itself, thanks to investments by Ford Motor Co. that will re-focus the city as a hub for electric and self-driving vehicles.
Back in 2018, Ford announced it had acquired Michigan’s Central Station, with goals to redevelop the defunct train station and its surrounding infrastructure into a high-tech hub that would focus on autonomous and electric vehicle businesses.
Ford has now taken another step toward that project, announcing that Google had joined the automaker’s effort and will help create a research hub focused on electric and self-driving vehicles, according to The Associated Press.
Google already has more than 600 employees in Michigan and intends to open a lab on the 30-acre site that will offer high school students computer science classes. Google will also begin offering free access to Google Career Certificates, in partnership with local nonprofits, with no required prior experience or degree to enroll. The certification program helps people enter high-growth career fields like data analytics, IT support, project management and user experience design, according to Google.
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Ford will partner with Google to consider graduates of the certification program for relevant roles and offer the program to its current employees.
The state of Michigan has also contributed to Ford’s efforts, providing more than $126 million worth of programming and resources, including infrastructure, according to the AP. Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan said his office is working to designate a Transportation Innovation Zone within the district too, in an effort to make it easier for small businesses and entrepreneurs to safely start and test projects.
Ford Motor Co. Fund president Mary Culler told the AP that renovations at Central Station could be complete as soon as next year.
“Innovation breeds innovation,” said Culler, to the AP.
“The more that we’re in the front row of that innovation and we’re seeing what others are doing, it will up everyone’s game. And I think it’s going to be a game-changer for the city, state and the region.”
As more and more car companies shift their focus to electric vehicles, Michigan has been helping pave the way. State officials recently announced Detroit will also be the site of the nation’s first public road capable of wirelessly charging electric vehicles as they drive over the pavement.
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