The U.S. Department of Labor, the State of Michigan, and the City of Detroit are partnering to strengthen to Detroit’s workforce development efforts. The $5 million federal grant is the first investment in the new program.
The partnership will specifically target the populations who have the most difficulty finding employment – veterans, disabled, long-term unemployed, youth, and returning citizens. The grant will help place 1,500 Detroiters in full-time employment.
U.S. Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez officially awarded the grant. He hopes that it will help young Detroiters find suitable careers.
“A principle that has guided me throughout my life is that we all succeed when we all succeed. We cannot afford to ignore the challenges facing our young people today. We have a moral obligation to do all we can to ensure that opportunity is available to all,” said U.S. Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez. “The grant we are announcing today will offer young people in Detroit, who are at-risk of falling off the economic ladder, a chance to chart a new course, gain job skills and find stable, meaningful careers.”
The grant will enable Detroit to start a new initiative in job training placement based on the following principles:
- The City will only train people for jobs that are open and available immediately. If the citizens complete the training, they know there is a job available.
- Every time an applicant is interviewed and doesn’t get a job, the City will follow up with the employer and find out why the applicant wasn’t hired. The City will then do follow up support or training to help the applicant succeed the next time.
- The City will partner with the State Department of Corrections in an unprecedented effort to train and prepare returning citizens for jobs upon release from prison. Re-entry programs will be started a year or more before prisoners’ scheduled release dates.
The new prison based program for returning citizens will be modeled after one pioneered by Deputy Assistant Secretary Seleznow in Montgomery County, MD. The program has found jobs for 95 percent of participants upon their release from a correctional facility.
“Our success as a city depends on making sure all of our residents have the opportunity to participate in Detroit’s recovery,” Mayor Duggan said. “This grant will allow us to develop new strategies that have never been used before to employ our returning citizens and others and measure our results.”
The new Detroit employment initiative also includes:
- Coordination with the Detroit Workforce Development Council, co-chaired by Strategic Staffing Solutions’ CEO Cynthia J. Pasky and DTE Vice Chairman and Chief Administration Officer Dave Meador. This council of area CEOs has been coordinating initiatives with major employers to create a more robust regional workforce training program and encourage job creation for hard to employ citizens.
- Coordination with faith based leaders and other community partners that also serve these populations and who can help direct them to the DESC for employment assistance.
- Creation of a single evaluation model for agencies and its customers that will help determine and address the unique needs of each individual being served by the program to better ensure job placement and sustainable employment.
“We are very thankful to the Department of Labor for recognizing this need in Detroit and trusting our administration to follow through on the commitment to employ Detroiters,” said the Mayor.