NewsWomen's History Month 2024


Operation Breakthrough giving young girls opportunity to jump start career in auto industry

Operation Breakthrough auto program
Posted at 6:31 PM, Mar 15, 2023
and last updated 2023-03-22 14:48:12-04

KANSAS CITY, MO — Young girls in Kansas City, Missouri, are getting the opportunity to jump start possible careers in the auto industry thanks to Operation Breakthrough.

"It’s kind of amazing to work on something so huge like this,” Destiny Monroe said.

Monroe says at Operation Breakthrough, she enjoys getting her hands dirty

“Like break things apart and putting thing back together,” she said.

With the help of a 1969 Chevy Chevelle, Monroe is steering her life in a new direction.

“When I start working on it, it felt kind of weird at first, but then I started getting the hang of it and I started to like it actually,” Monroe said.

Oz Quereshi, the chief program officer of MindDrive, is helping a class of 40 students learn new skills, using the right tools.

“Its called the engineering design studio, so its kind if engineering on steroids, but it's taking it from a more hands on approach,” Qureshi said. “They are learning to design, so in addition to converting a 69 Chevelle electric, they are building electric race cars, but it’s more like rapid prototyping, so we are not really designing a cad before we start fabricating out of steel or aluminum — we're fabricating on the table tops."

Qureshi says the finished product will be something the students will be extremely proud of.

“All light weight electric racing vehicles that they will design and build right on the table and then drive and race themselves," Quershi said.

Mary Esselman, the CEO of Operation Breakthrough, says this class is giving young girls not only knowledge, but something just as great as a fresh coat of paint.

“Kids here are not only learning welding, they are learning 2D and 3D modeling, and they are also learning how to convert a gas engine into an electric drive trade,” Esselman said. “It shows there are so many opportunities out there and none of them should be closed on gender.” 

Monroe says she is excited to explore the open road of possibilities that await her in the auto industry and more.

“Women can do things just like any regular man can do," Monroe said.