Detroit was once a city at the forefront of technology. But years of economic decline, and a shift in the prevailing U.S. market from industrial engineering and manufacturing to environmental management and computing, has left a lot of young Detroiters lacking the hard science skills they need to enter STEM fields.
A handful of forward-thinking organizations from around the city, however, are working to close the gap for students passionate about the sciences, and create an entry point for those who struggle to keep up. The result: a small but growing population of students ready to tackle the problems of today and tomorrow by harnessing the power of science.
Brian Lewis, program director for Youth Energy Squad (YES), an offshoot of the sustainable development nonprofit EcoWorks, says the the organization grew out of a need to increase energy efficiency and reduce bills in low-income homes. Over time, the program has grown to encompass not just energy, but wider sustainability and social justice issues in Detroit.