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Professional Associations in the Automotive Industry

College students are often encouraged to get involved in their campus community by joining student organizations and clubs. Most colleges have hundreds to thousands of them to choose from, ranging from ones focused on hobbies to ones focused on professional development. Regardless of the focus, club members and executive members reap the benefits of joining, including gaining leadership and communication skills, improving their resumes, and expanding their network. But once students graduate and are no longer a member of a student organization, where do they go to continue to reap these benefits? Professional development groups! Each industry has groups professionals rely on to continue learning, honing their skills, and networking.

Here are some organizations that professionals in the automotive industry can join in Michigan, either individually or through their workplace. Not in the automotive industry? Check out a list of other professional associations here.

 Center for Advanced Automotive Technology (CAAT)

CAAT is a professional group that filled a critical niche within automotive mobility in the advanced technology community in Southeast Michigan. It partners with Macomb Community College and Wayne State University and connects academia, government, industry, and education. CAAT provides resources to its members and students and works closely with auto designers, manufacturers, and parts suppliers to determine emerging education needs to meet the needs of employers and prepare students to find success post-graduation. You can learn more about CAAT at and by signing up for its newsletter, CAAT Tracks. Membership to CAAT is free.

Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA)

SEMA is an organization that provides the automotive aftermarket with professional development, career services, student programs, and training resources for current and budding industry professionals. Its professional development programs include virtual education, speaking opportunities, and Performance Racing Industry (PRI) education seminars. Student programs SEMA offers include student loan and forgiveness programs, vehicle shows, a high school build vehicle program, and more. Career services SEMA offers include a career center, assistance with finding jobs and internships, and more. Keep up with SEMA on Facebook and Instagram.

SAE International

SAE International is a global association of more than 128,000 engineers and related technical experts in the aerospace, automotive, and commercial vehicle industries. They support lifelong learning and voluntary consensus standards development. SAE offers professional development for those in the industry and a curriculum for those in K-8. Membership dues for SAE are $120 annually for professionals and $35 annually for students. Members are able to take advantage of exclusive insights, resources, discounts on conferences and events, connections with a global network, and on-demand professional development programs. Learn more here.

Alliance for Automotive Innovation (Autos Innovate)

Formed by the 2020 merger of the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers and Association of Global Automakers, Autos Innovate is known as the voice for a united auto industry. The organization is committed to developing and implementing constructive solutions to public policy challenges that promote sustainable mobility and benefit society in the areas of environment, energy, and motor vehicle safety. Two key members of Autos Innovate are General Motors and Ford. Keep up with the organization by signing up for their insightful newsletters and read about their initiatives.

Auto Care Association

The Auto Care Association is the voice of the $380 billion-plus auto care industry. It provides advocacy, educational, networking, technology, market intelligence, and communications resources to serve its collective membership. The Association serves the entire supply chain of the automotive aftermarket, including businesses that manufacture, distribute, and sell motor vehicle parts, accessories, tools, and more, and perform vehicle service, maintenance, and repair. If your business is a member of the Association, you will have access to numerous sales resources, aftermarket members across 164 countries, 100,000 peers at events, 50 scholarships, and more.

Women in Mobility (WiM)

Women in Mobility is a professional group that represents women who are interested in the movement of people, goods, services, and data, and in powering the future of global mobility in Detroit. Within its first year of creation, WiM hosted various meetups and grew to more than 200 members. Now, the group has grown exponentially. Subscribe for the WiM newsletter here to be the first to hear about events and other initiatives.

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