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SPOTLIGHT: DAPCEP Prepares Local Students for STEM in The District Detroit

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Cass Technical High School junior Zechariah Bailey has been deeply immersed in science, technology, engineering and math for a decade thanks to the Detroit Area Pre-College Engineering Program.

Located in The District Detroit’s Columbia Street neighborhood, the nonprofit organization commonly known as DAPCEP offers a variety of programs to more than 8,000 students from PK-12 every year in an effort to spark their creativity, critical thinking skills and interest in STEM. DAPCEP boasts a 100 percent high school graduation rate among its participants.

The 41-year-old community organization is hoping to create a pipeline of students who will become STEM professionals in the local community.

This semester, Bailey and his peers developed a mobile app called “Scan and Go” that allows users to transcribe their handwritten notes into text, which can be a real time-saver.

“DAPCEP gives me an opportunity to socialize, an idea of what it’s like to work in the STEM field and a glimpse into college life,” said Bailey, a star athlete.

In another DAPCEP course offered this past fall, DAPCEP students explored careers in architecture by using Google’s Sketch Up software to explore development ideas for a vacant lot near Brush Park.

DAPCEP Executive Director Michelle Reaves said the nonprofit organization moved from the Horace H. Rackham Educational Memorial Building at Wayne State University to an office space next to The Fillmore Detroit about five years ago.

“We wanted to stay in the area because of who we are and who we serve,” Reaves said.

More than half of DAPCEP students live in Detroit and are enrolled in public, private and charter schools throughout the metropolitan region. To date, DAPCEP boasts 60,000 alumni, and more than 11 university partnerships with local institutions like Wayne State University and Lawrence Technological University.

About The District Detroit

The District Detroit is one of the largest sports and entertainment developments in the country. Located in the heart of Detroit, this 50-block, mixed-use development led by the Ilitch organization unites eight world-class theaters, five neighborhoods and three professional sports venues in one vibrant, walkable destination for people who want to live, work and play in an exciting urban environment. Home to the Detroit Tigers, Detroit Red Wings, Detroit Pistons and Detroit Lions - The District Detroit represents the greatest density of professional sports teams in one downtown core in the country.

Current data from the University of Michigan demonstrates that The District Detroit will account for an economic impact of more than $2 billion by 2020 and create more than 20,000 construction and construction-related jobs and 3,000 permanent jobs.