Accelerate Auto hosts partners at year-end recap event

A not-for-profit group launched three years ago to help advance career opportunities for Black professionals in the auto industry hosted a partner luncheon event last week at its Mississauga, Ont. headquarters to provide a detailed update about the association’s activities.

“Prior to our launch we held a series of consultation meetings with the industry,” said Christopher Nabeta, Executive Chair, Accelerate Auto in his remarks. “We wanted to understand the reasons for the lack of Black representation in automotive so that Accelerate Auto could come up with some strategies.”

Then Nabeta took the partners through a host of initiatives the organization had launched in 2023, events they took part in, and he presented a month-by-month snapshot of activities and programs slated for 2024.

“We are not about talk — we are about programs,” said Nabeta, who took time to recognize many of the partners in attendance who had attended Accelerate Auto events, or provided support for the organization.

The partners in the room consisted of a broad representation across the auto ecosystem including senior leadership representatives from banks such as TD Auto Finance and Scotiabank, OEM leaders like Don Romano, President and CEO of Hyundai Canada, David Adams, President of the Global Automakers of Canada, various media including Canadian auto dealer, Automotive News and CityLine, government officials and educators from high schools, colleges and universities including the Automotive Business School of Canada, and various suppliers to the industry including Canadian Black Book, taq Automotive Intelligence, Dealership Solutions Mergers and Acquisitions (DSMA), and others.

The partners were shown how the various activities were aligned with the organization’s four organizational pillars which are: Awareness, Development, Mentorship and Community.

Some of the programs discussed included a formal mentorship program that is currently being piloted that connects young Black professionals and students to experienced leaders within automotive; an Insider’s Hub that is building a community and connectivity where jobs and other information can be shared; formal research studies to examine the Black car buying and employment experience in the industry and other related issues; and a host of events linked to schools that connect students with the industry.

The association also used the gathering to announce the inaugural Black Automotive Professional Awards (BAPA) and a new Access to Work program that provides a $750 a week wage subsidy to employers hiring young Black employees aged 18-34 based in Ontario.

Nabeta then fielded questions from attendees, and drew applause when he announced the organization had launched all of its programs and initiatives with only one paid employee and 29 volunteers.

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