This summer, there will be plenty of fresh, young faces around town, thanks to the Grow Detroit’s Young Talent Program (GDYT). For six weeks this summer, youths 14 to 24 years of age will receive work experiences that will provide them invaluable training, on-the-job experience, professional contacts, and a potential career path.
“A summer job can make all the difference in the life of one of our youths,” Mayor Mike Duggan said. “It provides skills, experience and confidence, and it prepares them for bright futures and prosperous careers. We owe a big thank you to all of our supporters and employers for giving more than 8,000 kids this opportunity – and I’d like to congratulate those youth for taking charge of their futures.”
Last year, the City of Detroit through partner companies and organizations provided jobs to 5,600 youths in the city, so Mayor Duggan set this year’s goal at 8,000. More than 11,000 youth applied this year.
Nearly $10 million was raised for this year’s program, thanks to the financial support of organizations like Bank of America Charitable Foundation, Detroit Pistons, DTE Energy, Fifth Third Bank, JPMorgan Chase, and Strategic Staffing Solutions.
“The business and philanthropic community really stepped up to the plate, and our community came together to make it clear that we care about the kids in this city and we want to make sure that they have access to opportunity,” Mayor Duggan said. “It means so much to tell our young people that the community is here for you, and we believe in you.”
The GDYT program also got significant help from a $700,000 grant that Wayne County Executive Warren Evans secured from the Wayne County Department of Health Veterans and Community Wellness Fund in late May. Two weeks earlier, the White House announced it was awarding the GYDT program $2 million over two years as part of its commitment to connecting disadvantaged young people with jobs this summer.
“I am happy to support an initiative that is aligned with one of my top priorities, the advancement of youth through training opportunities,” said County Executive Evans. “The experiences these youth will gain by participating in Grow Detroit’s Young Talent program will prepare them to enter the workforce and become productive members of an ever more technical and global society.”
Throughout May and June, youth applicants were selected based upon both employer request and a random selection process among the applicants. GDYT youth have undergone orientation sessions, including 12 hours of work readiness training at a worksite, as well as 24 hours of ongoing training throughout the summer.
Most of the program participants started work Wednesday, July 6, and the rest started work on Monday, July 12. Teens 14 to 18 years old are paid $8 an hour, and those 18 to 24 years old receive $9.50 an hour. Most participants work 20 hours a week for six weeks. They will also receive 12 hours of readiness training and another 24 hours of training, such as financial literacy education.
GYDT youth will work at companies large and small. Mortgage giant Quicken Loans hired 200 youths, the most of any organization. Detroit Manufacturing Systems came in second at 150 youth hires.
The youth will work at a variety of jobs across the more than 600 work sites, ranging from communication sites to auto suppliers to law firms to sports stadiums.
You can follow the GYDT youth on their summer job adventures by checking out social media. The youth are being encouraged to document their work experience using the hashtag #MyDetroitSummer. They will post on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to share their summer job stories. So check in and encourage them as these young people embark on a summer of learning and growing.