AAPI Heritage Month Spotlight: Bringing STEAM Education to All Kids with Thanh Tran

As we celebrate Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month this May, we're taking a moment to spotlight Thanh Tran, the driving force and Founder behind AccelerateKID and the Executive Director of Accelerate4KIDS Foundation. He's on a mission to bring quality computer science education to all youth—a passion inspired by his family. Reflecting on what this month means to him, he says, "we honor our Vietnamese heritage with family and friends regularly, but our main focus is raising our kids to be good people and engage in our community."


Text: We honor our Vietnamese heritage with family and friends regularly, but our main focus is raising our kids to be good people and engage in our community. Thanh Tran Founder of AccelerateKID and Executive Director of Accelerate4KIDs Foundation to left of Asian male wearing a light yellow T-shirt with '22 D HACK on the front. He holds a microphone in his right hand standing in front of a receptionists counter with an African American male behind.

Originally from Vietnam, Thanh and his family found their home in Michigan back in 1975. He initially pursued electrical engineering at Michigan State University, later transitioning from corporate roles to the world of entrepreneurship. It was a natural evolution spurred by a simple observation: Thanh noticed how much his kids loved games like Minecraft. This spark led to the creation of AccelerateKID, giving younger kids a chance to learn about the intricacies of computer science. Their flagship class? Building your very own Minecraft server.


Despite an overwhelming majority (90%) of parents wanting their kids to learn computer science, nearly half of Michigan schools offer the coursework, according to Code.org and Bridge Michigan. Enter Accelerate4KIDS, swooping in to fill this gap, teaching nearly 800 students from kindergarten to eighth grade. Their mission? To immerse young minds in the wonders of science, technology, engineering, the arts, and mathematics (STEAM) education, enriching Southeast Michigan with a diverse range of programs. "We'll know we've done our job when every school has a quality computer science curriculum," Thanh says.


Asian male bends down between two African American students while a third looks on as all focus on a laptop.

Thanh's pride truly shines when former students come back to AccelerateKID, hoping to share their passion and teach others. Since his first tech venture in Detroit, his goal has remained constant: ensuring that young people have the resources they need to succeed in any career path they choose.


If you're a Ford employee interested in amplifying AccelerateKID's impact, spread the word about their work and consider volunteering as a mentor. Contact volunteer@Ford.com with questions.