Denso Gives $1 Million to 24 Schools to Help Skilled Trades

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The Denso North America Foundation (DNAF) has awarded more than $1 million to 24 colleges and universities across North America to advance education in skilled trades, active safety and robotics programs, student vehicle teams, learning labs and more.

“The best learning experiences are when things don't work how you expected them to work, or how the text book explained,” says Doug Patton, president of the Denso North America Foundation and executive vice president of engineering at Denso International America Inc. “That’s why we want students to get their hands on technology. They need to get their hands dirty and figure out how things work, how to fix, test, and develop technology, how to innovate and think creatively.”

The foundation is the philanthropic arm of the global auto parts supplier's North American headquarters. Since 2001, the DNAF has worked to advance the auto industry through grants to colleges and universities. The foundation provides students with technology, tools, and experiences similar to that of the professional workplace they’ll experience after graduation.

“The foundation not only focuses on engineering programs, but also skilled trades and robots as these are becoming increasingly important in the automotive and technology industries,” says Mike Brackett, member of the DNAF Board of Directors and senior vice president at Denso Manufacturing Tennessee. “Many students have an incorrect image of what manufacturing is today. It's very high tech, interesting and exciting! Through hands-on programs, students can find out if they excel in these much needed areas. These may be the same people who loved to tinker with cars, or take things apart and put them back together; however, until they obtain hands-on experience with robotics or skilled trades, they probably don’t know how they can translate these passions into a career.”

In addition to the foundation’s efforts, Denso also supports students one-on-one through mentorship, connecting students with Denso experts to give them a better idea of what being an engineer or technical professional means. Denso also supports programs around the country and the world such as For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology (FIRST) Robotics, Project Lead the Way, and Society of Automotive Engineering Collegiate Design Series as a part of this mentoring effort. Denso also has an extensive co-op student program where students are given a high level of responsibility and gain real-world experience.

These schools were awarded the more than $1 million from the Denso Foundation:

Arkansas Northeasteran College

Arkansas State University

California State University - Long Beach

Cleveland State Community College

Conestoga College

Kellogg Community College

Kettering University

Lawrence Technological University

Michigan State University

Michigan Technological University

North Carolina State

Northwestern University

Oakland University

Ohio State University

Pellissippi State Technical College

Tennessee College of Applied Technology

Tennessee Tech University

Trine University

University of Detroit Mercy

University of Kentucky

University of Michigan - Dearborn

University of Tennessee at Chattanooga

University of Tennessee at Knoxville

Western Michigan University

For more information about the Denso foundation, visit

For more information about Denso, go to

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