Jump-starting jobs: Detroit employers asked to post 8,000 help wanted signs

Jump-starting jobs: Detroit employers asked to post 8,000 help wanted signs

Young, talented and employed. That will be the credentials behind the names of 8,000 of Detroit’s 14-24-year-old population, who won’t have to wait around to  be successful thanks to Mayor Duggan’s call to jump-start summer employment programs for area youth.

The Mayor officially kick-started enrollment for Grow Detroit’s Young Talent (GDYT) this week. The program will provide thousands of young people in Detroit with gainful employment.

There’s a lot of work to do in Detroit and Duggan told area businesses and foundations he’s knows countless candidates able to fill the 8,000 openings he hopes they will create.

Making the announcement at DTE Energy, which has been a major program sponsor since its inception, Duggan said this year there will be a wider range of career readiness and pathways including:

 Expanded vocational training

Opportunities to earn industry recognized training certifications

Career-pathway internships for second- and third-year GDYT youth ages 16 and older.

Mayor Mike Duggan

“GDYT is all about preparing our young Detroiters for their first jobs and ultimately their careers,” says Duggan. “Youth participating in this year’s program will have more opportunity than ever to receive the kind of training and experience that could make them immediately employable.”

The city’s key partners are Detroit Employment Solutions Corporation and City Connect Detroit.

Since it launched in 2015, the program has had a marked rate of improvement every year. In its first year GDYT provided 5,600 summer jobs to the city’s youth. In 2016, 8,100 found work.  Before the days of GDYT, smaller independent organizations provided 2,500 jobs a year to the city’s youth.

GDYT youth, ages 14-17, will be paid $7.50 per hour and youth 18 and up will make $8.90 per hour.  Those selected for Career Pathways Internships will earn $9.50 per hour. Participants are allowed to work a total of 120 hours, typically working 20 hours per week for six weeks.

In 2016, GDYT youth had experiences at more than 600 worksites, including 230 employers.   This year’s fundraising goal is $10.8 million, up slightly from $10.6 million last year.

“DTE Energy and our foundation have provided more than 2,000 summer jobs for young Detroiters in recent years, and we are committed to expanding these opportunities and making them even more valuable,” says Gerry Anderson, chairman and CEO, DTE Energy.  “I encourage other business leaders to join us in supporting Grow Detroit’s Young Talent – it’s a great way to participate in Detroit’s resurgence.”

Companies that participate will get some well-trained interns. Businesses interested in providing summer work experiences for Detroit youth also can register at the GDYT website.

This year, the program will offer vocational training for 550 participants, which is up from just over 400 last year. Youth enrolled in the training component will participate in 120 hours of vocational training over six weeks just as those matched to work experiences.

For many, this will end with certification and lead directly to employment afterward. For those who require more than the allotted time for certification, the city has partnered with several providers that will credit the GDYT youth with six weeks toward certification in their program, also helping to make these youth employment-ready.

GDYT youth, who have work experiences this year that do not offer certifications, will be able to earn skills badges they can produce for prospective employers as proof of their abilities in various areas, including financial literacy, completion of vocational skills training and soft skills training, such as attendance and conflict resolution.

While not every job requires certification, it is important to be able to prove you learned the skills. GDYT youth will get badges to show potential employers as proof of their abilities in areas including financial literacy, completion of vocational skills training and soft skills training, such as attendance and conflict resolution.

In addition to the 550 that will receive vocational training, another 550 GDYT youth ages 16 and older will be placed in career-pathway internships with some of the program’s larger employers.

Any youth who want to apply can do so at www.GDYT.org. Any companies that want to join can learn more at the GDYT website.

Once all interested parties have applied, they will be screened. At the GDYT-sponsored career fairs in May and June they can be interviewed by employers.  Employment matches will be made with a combination of will be made by employer request and random selection

Orientation sessions preparing successful GDYT applicants for the workplace will take place and include 12 hours of work readiness training at a worksite.

Program Timeline

February 8 – Application process begins at www.GDYT.org

March – Application process ends

April – Applicants contacted, start of employer match and interview process

May – June – Job readiness training and orientation sessions

Early July – Work experience begins

Among last year’s major GDYT sponsors were:

Bank of America Charitable Foundation

City of Detroit

Community Foundation for SE Michigan

Crain’s Communications

Detroit Pistons

Detroit Wayne Mental Health Authority

DTE Energy

Employer Partners Matching Funds

Fifth Third Bank

Ford Motor Co. Fund

JP Morgan Chase

John S. and James L. Knight Foundation

Kresge Foundation

MGM Grand

Mrs. Marjorie S. Fisher Fund

Ralph C. Wilson Jr. Foundation

Skillman Foundation

Strategic Staffing Solutions

Talmer Bank

United States Department of Labor

United Way for Southeastern Michigan

WK Kellogg Foundation

In an ever competitive and complicated job market, the kids and young adults of Detroit have the chance to get both a head start and a laser-focused route to careers. All they need is to be willing and able.


– Photos from Grow Detroit’s Young Talent website






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