Chrysler Group to Help “Close the Technology Gap” Among Michigan Students

* New program will award $87,000 to honor exemplary Michigan public school educators in science, math, engineering and technology
* Deadline for applications is March 22, 2006; winners will be announced in May

Auburn Hills, Mich., Feb 2, 2006 –

The number of U.S. students graduating from college with a degree in science, math, technology or engineering is rapidly decreasing. According to a study commissioned by the National Science Foundation, only 6 percent of the world’s graduating engineers are from the United States. Those numbers are far behind other countries, such as India (36 percent), China (22 percent) and Japan (10 percent).

To help combat that trend and increase the number of potential U.S. engineers, mathematicians and scientists, the DaimlerChrysler Corporation Fund, in partnership with The New Detroit Science Center, is creating a “Closing the Technology Gap in Education” competition.

The competition recognizes Michigan public school teachers who are committed to stimulating students’ interest and academic achievement in math, engineering, science and technological courses. Closing the Technology Gap in Education, in its first year, will award grants totaling $87,000 to 30 teachers and their respective schools to further promote innovative lessons in the fields of math, science, engineering and technology.

Applications are being mailed to all Michigan public schools as well as to every school superintendent. The winners will be announced at an awards ceremony on May 13, 2006, at The New Detroit Science Center. Gov. Jennifer Granholm is serving as the honorary chair and Chrysler Group Chief Operating Officer Eric Ridenour will host the event.

“The decrease in the number of students pursuing careers that require math, science and technical courses is a reflection of U.S. students not being pushed to seek careers that demand highly technical skills,” said Ridenour. “Through our Closing the Technology Gap awards competition, we want to shine the spotlight on the educators who understand the importance of science, math, engineering and technology. At Chrysler Group, we look for the best and the brightest, and we want to encourage young people to enter fields that require technical backgrounds. It’s imperative for our future workforce.”

“Perhaps the single most important key to economic development is the one that opens the doors to learning in the minds of our young ones today,” said Granholm. “In the knowledge economy, business and education are linked; you cannot succeed at the former if you do not excel at the latter.”

A total of 10 prizes will be awarded to each school level: elementary, middle/junior and high school. First through third-prize winners will receive $15,000, $7,500 and $3,000, respectively. Winners who place fourth through 10th place will receive $500 grants. The grants will go to schools and used to build the science, math, engineering and technology curriculums.

“Students begin to decide at an early age whether they are interested in science and math,” said Science Center President & CEO Kevin F. Prihod. “Once they start to dislike these subjects, we have lost them as future engineers or scientists. The Closing the Technology Gap in Education awards are so critical because they recognize the teachers who keep math and science interest alive during those critical years before college.”

All applications must be submitted by March 22, 2006, to The New Detroit Science Center. A panel of independent judges from prestigious science, math, engineering and technology arenas, including University of Michigan, Lawrence Technological University and Detroit Area Pre-College Engineering Program (DAP-CEP), will determine the 30 winners.

Winners will be based on submissions that clearly demonstrate unique, creative avenues for teaching students math, science, technology and engineering skills while also bringing passion and excitement to the classroom.

For more information, please contact Julie Flashner at (313) 577.8400, ext. 424, visit the DaimlerChrysler Corporation Fund’s Web site at or The New Detroit Science Center at


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