The Driving Force offers HBCU students multimedia career development with the goal of increasing automotive media and automobile industry diversity.
A distinctive internship was created in 2020 and extended for fall 2022 between the Department of Mass Communications at North Carolina Central University (NCCU), automobile manufacturer Stellantis, and the Black Automotive Media Group (BAMG).
What is The Driving Force?
The Driving Force (TDF) is a 10-week internship designed for students interested in covering or working in the automobile industry in the field of journalism, corporate communications, marketing, and public relations; and incorporates instruction in editorial content, video content production, and social media outreach, augmented by Stellantis executive presentations.
TDF was created following conversations between automakers and the BAMG relating to increased programming for deserving but often neglected HBCUs. While those discussions began to improve the diversity and inclusion of African American journalists covering the industry, the idea presented itself to help prepare the next generation of automotive media and industry professionals. This fall’s collaboration connects Stellantis for the second time with NCCU enrollees from the Department of Mass Communications.
“Our partnership with the Black Automotive Media Group and North Carolina Central University is one of many ways Stellantis promotes longstanding commitment to diversity and inclusion, and to diverse communities,” said Lottie Holland, vice president, Diversity, Inclusion, Engagement, and EEO Compliance, Stellantis North America. “This program is also an outstanding opportunity to showcase the exciting and dynamic automotive industry as a career destination for talented future leaders.”
TDF is led by respected automotive media experts Kimatni D. Rawlins, BAMG founder and publisher of AutomotiveRhythms.com; Greg Morrison of Bumper2Bumpertv; and other key journalists and publishers including Marcus Amick and Teia B. Collier.
“Our second collaboration with Stellantis and North Carolina Central University allows BAMG to extend new pathways to HBCU students,” said Rawlins. “An internship in the automotive sector 25 years ago profoundly influenced my career decisions, so creating similar opportunities for future thought leaders with a strong interest in this field represents another opportunity to elevate our community.”
TDF exposes interns to careers as editorial and broadcast journalists, marketers, publicists, and digital media pundits within the automotive sphere. Students will showcase their work on various platforms during the program, including written vehicle evaluations, video advertising projects, and video content creation and hosting. They will also interact with automotive executives from different departments within Stellantis.
“We are excited to partner with the Black Automotive Media Group and Stellantis once again, a sustainable, mobile-tech company. Our students benefited from the initial opportunity, and we’re looking forward to adding more scholars this fall for an even greater experience,” said Brett Chambers, lecturer, NCCU Department of Mass Communications.
“Absolutely amazing is how I would describe The Driving Force internship program,” said NCCU student Tia Knowles, who excelled in the first Driving Force program with the university. “I highly recommend students participate if given the opportunity since it enhanced my professionalism in various ways, grew my network tremendously, and created mentors for life!”
Stellantis is one of the world’s leading automakers and a mobility provider, guided by a clear vision to offer freedom of movement with distinctive, affordable and reliable mobility solutions. In addition to the Group’s rich heritage and broad geographic presence, its greatest strengths lie in its sustainable performance, depth of experience and the wide-ranging talents of employees working around the globe. Stellantis will leverage its broad and iconic brand portfolio, which was founded by visionaries who infused the brands with passion and a competitive spirit that speaks to employees and customers alike. Stellantis aspires to become the greatest, not the biggest, while creating added value for all stakeholders, as well as the communities in which it operates.
About NCCU Department of Mass Communications
North Carolina Central University’s goal is to define the future of the Field of Mass Communications and for our graduates to bring their perspectives to the field. Our vision is to have a department with graduates who have an understanding of the ethical, practical, and theoretical foundations in the field, a command of emerging technologies, and an understanding of and appreciation for cultural diversity. For more information, visit www.nccu.edu or call 919-530-6100.
About the BAMG (Black Automotive Media Group)
The BAMG is a distinguished group of Black reporters, publishers, writers, and entrepreneurs representing over 100 years of combined experience in automotive journalism within radio, television, print, experiential marketing, and social media. BAMG members either work for or own various automotive media platforms targeting diverse audiences. BAMG’s primary objective is to bring equity and equality to Black professionals who work in and around the automotive industry. For additional details regarding The Driving Force HBCU internship program, please visit AutomotiveRhythms.com.