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Summer of Opportunity: 5,594 Detroit Youths to Have Employment Thanks to Grow Detroit’s Young Talent

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Summer of Opportunity:  5,594 Detroit Youths to Have Employment Thanks to Grow Detroit’s Young Talent

•    17,000 began application process; Mayor Duggan urges businesses to hire those that GDYT couldn’t place this year.

This summer, 5,594 Detroit youths ages 14-24 will have work experiences that will provide them invaluable training, professional contacts and a potential career path thanks to the overwhelming success of Mayor Mike Duggan’s Grow Detroit’s Young Talent program (GDYT). More than 17,000 youths entered the application process.

During the 2014 Detroit Regional Chamber Mackinac Policy Conference, Mayor Duggan pledged to securing employment for 5,000 youth.  Through a collaborative effort between the Mayor’s Office, City Connect Detroit, Detroit Employment Solutions Corporation and the philanthropic and business community, GDYT was able to significantly surpass that goal in the program’s first year.

While Mayor Duggan praised the first-year effort, he is urging local businesses to hire more of the roughly 12,000 Detroit youths who started the GDYT application process.

“The community-wide response to our challenge to create 5,000 summer jobs for our youth has been incredible,” Mayor Duggan said.  “This sends a powerful message to the young people of this city that there is opportunity here for them and that the entire community is committed providing them access to those opportunities.”

Major sponsors have come forward to provide nearly $7 million of dollars in funding for the program, of which the city of Detroit pledged $1.5 million of community development block grant funds.  Among the major sponsors were:
•    Skillman Foundation
•    Kellogg Foundation
•    Bank of America Charitable Foundation
•    DTE Energy Foundation
•    JPMorgan Chase Foundation
•    Marjorie S. Fisher Fund
•    Fifth Third Bank
•    The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation
•    Wayne Metropolitan Community Action Agency
•    Detroit Wayne County Mental Health Agency

“Giving a young Detroiter a summer job is one of the fastest and more direct ways those in the private sector can make an impact on the life trajectory for a young person, all while contributing in an immediate and meaningful way to our regional economy and by building a prepared workforce for the city’s future,” said Tonya Allen, President & CEO of the Skillman Foundation

“The success of the 2015 Grow Detroit’s Young Talent is a fine example of the Kellogg Foundation’s belief in what works best in Detroit: young residents from across the city spoke loud and clear about seeking work experiences and the lack of summer jobs open to them,” said Ed Egnatios, Program Officer for the W.K. Kellogg Foundation and Chair/Co-Founder of the Detroit Youth Employment Consortium.   “Then, philanthropy, employers, youth service providers and government representatives sat down together to learn and to take action – together,” Egnatios added.

Businesses step up to provide opportunities
Meanwhile, local businesses large and small, such as Detroit Manufacturing Services (DMS), Belfor and Errol Service make up the more than 170 new employer partners who have committed to providing placement and financial support to hire youth over the summer.

"We're excited to be working with smart, young Detroiters during the earliest stages of their careers, helping them get the training and experience they need to thrive,” said Andra Rush, CEO, Detroit Manufacturing Systems.  DMS is the program’s single largest summer employer, having committed to hiring 100 youth at Rush’s facility in Detroit.

Throughout the months of May and June, youth applicants were selected based upon both employer request and a random selection process among the applicants.

Orientation sessions preparing GDYT youth for the workplace have taken place over the past two weeks and included 12 hours of work readiness training at a worksite, as well as 24 hours of ongoing training throughout the summer.  

The work experience begins July 6th.

5,000 jobs this year.  8,000 next year?
The only thing that out-matched the response from the philanthropic and business community was the response from youths themselves, Mayor Duggan said.

“More than 17,000 youth started the application process and more than 11,000 completed it,” Duggan said.  “We have a lot of great young talent in Detroit and clearly they have the strong desire to work and gain professional experience.  Our challenge now is to provide even more opportunity next year.”

Based on the success of GDYT’s inaugural year, Mayor Duggan said he feels the capacity exists to expand his original goal from 5,000 summer jobs this year to at least 8,000 next year.

Any business or organization wishing to hire youths not placed by GDYT can contact City Connect Detroit at 313.967.5641 or youthjobs@cityconnectdetroit.org

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