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Ford's College Ambassador Challenge Offers Students Real-World Experience for a Competitive Employment Landscape

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DEARBORN, MI--April 8, 2013:

  • Ford Motor Company  and internship guru Lauren Berger have teamed up for the 2013 Ford College Ambassador Challenge
  • The 2013 Ford College Ambassador Challenge helps students acquire specific skills to compete in a job landscape with a slowly increasing employment rate
  • Five university teams will compete for prizes through three social media-driven challenges that could lead to a long-term assignment with Ford Motor Company

Fifteen internships in four years sounds like a pretty demanding exercise. Yet Lauren Berger did just that while at the University of Central Florida, and learned how to be a leader and a successful entrepreneur in the process. And now Berger, founder of Intern Queen Inc., is offering students a similar opportunity through the 2013 Ford College Ambassador Challenge.

"Recruiters at companies like Ford are looking for college graduates who have a certain set of skills, and internships are the best source for gaining these skills," said Lee Jelenic, Ford Great Lakes Region Sales and Marketing manager. "Lauren Berger is proof that showing initiative and leadership skills pays off after graduation."

Ford and Berger have created three challenges for five teams of up to four members each at universities in the Midwest region. These interactive, social media-driven challenges are designed to empower students with tools for success on the job. Teams from the University of Illinois, University of Pittsburgh, University of Minnesota, University of Michigan and University of Louisville will compete in these exercises in the Ford College Ambassador Challenge:

  • "Super segment" viral video: Teams will visit their local Ford dealer and create a one-minute video introducing Ford's super segment – the subcompact and compact cars, small utility vehicles and midsize sedans that represent nearly 50 percent of total new vehicle sales in the U.S.
  • Promote Berger's speaking events: Each team will be responsible for marketing and promoting these free speaking events at their universities through flyers, social media and any other means. The school with the largest turnout wins.
  • "Race to 120" test drive: Teams will create and implement a marketing plan to encourage up to 120 drivers over the age of 25 to test drive a super segment vehicle at their local dealer. The first team to reach 120 test drives wins that challenge.

The team with the highest total composite score will win cash, the opportunity to drive one of Ford's super segment vehicles for a month in the summer and an additional marketing experience with Ford. This experience will include one final marketing challenge and an all-expenses-paid trip to Ford's marketing offices in Chicago to review their results and gain valuable experience and career advice while interacting with Ford management.

"Ford understands the ever-changing landscape of the workforce," said Jelenic. "Our College Ambassador Challenge is dedicated to creating a substantial, hands-on marketing experience for students that will improve their resumes, and the winning college team has the opportunity for another marketing assignment and direct interaction with the Ford Chicago management team."

In today's job market, graduates need more than what the classroom has to offer to obtain employment. And experiences like the Ford College Ambassador Challenge are essential.

According to the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE), while recruiting and hiring is on the upswing for graduates, it remains very slow. NACE's Job Outlook 2013 survey shows employers anticipate hiring 13 percent more recent college grads this year than last year. This means students need to equip themselves with as many tools as possible to land a job.

According to NACE, eight out of 10 employers who review the resumes of potential college hires are seeking evidence of leadership skills. And 75 percent of employers are looking for problem-solving skills. The College Ambassador Challenge aims to provide experience specific to those employers' needs.

"We are looking for teams who can learn our products and engage potential customers with innovative marketing, leadership and problem-solving skills," said Jelenic. "They'll gain valuable real-world professional experience that they can use upon graduation while showcasing their talents to us."

The challenges began mid-March and will run through April 25, 2013. will tabulate the points and choose the winning team on April 29, 2013.

For more information on the Ford College Ambassador Challenge, visit Intern Queen .