Detroit Mobility Lab Names New Executive Director, Timing for Master of Mobility Degree

Michigan Mobility Institute’s executive director, Jessica Robinson. // Photograph Courtesy of Detroit Mobility Lab

The Detroit Mobility Lab today announced at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit that Jessica Robinson, a globally recognized leader within the mobility industry, has joined the Michigan Mobility Institute as its executive director.

As the first initiative of the Detroit Mobility Lab, the Michigan Mobility Institute will be a brick and mortar educational institute with the mission of educating professionals and tradespeople within artificial intelligence, robotics, cybersecurity, and other fields to help ensure Detroit’s relevance as a global center for future mobility.

The goal is to create one of the world’s foremost mobility technology ecosystems in Detroit. The location of the institute will be announced in the near future.

“This is a seminal day in the history of the Detroit Mobility Lab,” says Chris Thomas, co-founder and president of the organization. “We realized early on that one of the most important factors in launching the Michigan Mobility Institute would be finding an amazing leader — someone who had the right background, an understanding of the seriousness of the opportunity, and a passion for mobility. Jessica is that person.”

Focusing exclusively on mobility, the Michigan Mobility Institute will offer academic, professional, executive, retraining, and skilled-trades programs to develop local and global talent.

Starting in 2021, it will also offer the first-of-its-kind Master of Mobility, a new degree to be developed with select university partners and informed directly by industry needs.

Most recently, Robinson led the development of next-generation mobility efforts at Ford Smart Mobility where she was director, city solutions, and at Zipcar, where she held roles in growth, operations, and marketing across North America.

Prior to that, she helped launch startup accelerator programs at Techstars with industry-leading corporate partners. She also is an active startup mentor and micro lender who invests in women entrepreneurs and business owners in Detroit.

“I’ve been part of groundbreaking organizations in next-generation mobility for the last 10 years,” says Robinson, a co-founder of Detroit Mobility Lab. “During this time, I’ve seen a rapid evolution of the technologies driving the future of mobility.

“While nobody can predict the future, we can say with absolute certainty that we require a new type of engineer, and more of them. The Michigan Mobility Institute will be the leading, industry-backed talent development entity focused on training mobility specialists for the future of mobility.”

She adds recent findings published by the Detroit Mobility Lab and Boston Consulting Group validate the need for the focus. Self-driving and electric cars will help create more than 100,000 U.S.-based mobility jobs in the next 10 years, including up to 30,000 jobs for engineers with degrees in computer-related subjects, according to the study.

But the demand may be as much as six times the expected number of such graduates, exacerbating the industry’s already significant talent shortage.

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