Forbes: Tingting Yan on COVID-19's impact on the automotive industry

The city of Detroit has been hit hard by Covid-19, the shutdowns and tragedies of the coronavirus slowing the progress of a metro area that has faced its share of recent challenges — but also hope. In a weekend-long sprint, a group of Forbes Under 30 alumni have worked around the clock to provide more support to the latter, looking at how technology and community organizing can work together to provide key skills to Detroit’s evolving and iconic auto manufacturing workforce. The kickoff to a monthlong program called the Forbes Under 30 Detroit Hackathon: Accelerating Change, in partnership with the City of Detroit, Rocket Mortgage by Quicken Loans and Major League Hacking, the weekend’s four teams studied challenges — and raced to build solutions — for Detroit stakeholders in food, auto manufacturing, recycling and healthcare. The auto group’s challenge was a weighty one. Capitalizing on existing production and capacity, how could Detroit automakers account for the drop in purchasing of traditional motor vehicles? Speaking to experts like Tingting Yan, an associate professor of supply chain management at Wayne State University’s Mike Ilitch School of Business, and Jessica Robinson, chairwoman of the Michigan Mobility Institute, as well as managers and employees from throughout the local auto industry’s supply chain, the team determined that the auto industry’s gradual shift to electric and autonomous cars would require retraining and new strategies for employing its workers.

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