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GE invests $5M in Next Generation of Greenville engineers

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GE selected Greenville as one of four locations for an inaugural work force development program in partnership with Clemson University. (Photo/Provided)GE has selected Greenville as one of four locations to establish a program designed to increase the diversity of young people in engineering.

GE is putting $5 million into the launch of Next Engineers in Greenville, which the company says is a global college-readiness program implemented locally by working with Clemson University.

A goal is to inspire more than 3,500 local students ages 13 to 18, provide them with first-hand experiences in engineering and award financial support for them to pursue engineering education, according to a news release.

In April 2021, GE announced a $100 million program with a goal of reaching more than 85,000 students in approximately 25 cities globally over the next decade.

“Bringing diverse young voices to engineering is imperative as these students will power and lead the change our world needs,” John Intile, vice president, GE Gas Power Engineering, said in the news release. “GE’s ongoing and accelerated partnership with Clemson University, including our recent announcement of the GE John Lammas Annual Scholarship supporting underrepresented students, is key to our success. This program will introduce students to the world of engineering at a young age, conveying the career opportunities that come with degrees in engineering. Most important, it will empower them to reach their own potential and foster the skills needed to address complex, real-world issues.”

Next Engineers offers three programs.

Engineering Discovery for students ages 13-14 (eighth grade) and their guardians with the goal of increasing awareness through multiple, short, one-hour exploratory experiences and hand-on activities connecting students to real engineers.

Engineering Camp for students ages 14-15 (rising ninth grade) with the goal of developing engineering identities through a week-long immersive camp experience over school break where students interact with experienced engineering faculty and staff, complete design challenges solving real-world problems and interact directly with professional engineers and business leaders.

Engineering Academy for students ages 15-18 (high school students) with the goal of guiding and encouraging students to pursue engineering degrees. Engineering Academy is a three-year college readiness program for upper secondary students that helps them learn to think and act like engineers and prepare them to select and succeed at an engineering major at the university level. The program provides 80 hours per year of out-of-school programming. The program will include longer challenges and a capstone project, career coaching to expose students to different engineering pathways and college-readiness workshops. Students accepted to higher education engineering programs will also receive a scholarship from the GE Foundation.

Next Engineers started taking applications today for the third program, Engineering Academy.

“We are honored to collaborate with GE to lead Next Engineers for the Greenville and Upstate area,” Serita Acker, executive director of PEER and WISE at Clemson, said in the release. Programs for Educational Enrichment and Retention and Women in Science and Engineering are long-standing programs at Clemson designed to recruit and educate underrepresented populations to science, technology, engineering and math disciplines.

“Next Engineers is well positioned to broaden and diversify the pipeline that runs from the K-12 system and higher education to the workforce. GE continues to be one of our most important corporate partners, and I thank them for working to create new pathways to STEM careers,” Acker said in the release.

Reach Ross Norton at or 864-642-5229.

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