The ninth year of Grow Detroit’s Young Talent, the City of Detroit’s summer work experience program for Detroit youth, officially kicked-off this week with a goal of providing over 8,000 summer employment opportunities for Detroit youth ages 14-24.
Mayor Mike Duggan was joined by members of Detroit City Council, employers, philanthropic organizations, and youth at DTE Energy’s headquarters in Detroit to officially open the application portal, which will remain open at GDYT.org until May 31, 2023.
8,068 Detroit youth were employed through GDYT during the 2022 program, the eighth straight year of exceeding the program’s target of 8,000. To maintain social distancing protocols, GDYT made more than 5,500 of the 2022 summer opportunities virtual or hybrid, and the program will provide similar accommodations in 2023.
“This summer, we plan to make our 70,000th summer job opportunity available through GDYT,” said Mayor Duggan. “Every year, it is inspiring to see so many thousands of youth sign up for this program, some who are multi-year participants taking further steps toward their final career paths, others getting their first taste of having a job and earning a paycheck. And every year, our employers, our philanthropic community and our partners across the city are there to meet them, to guide them, and to help them shape their futures.”
Joining the mayor for the announcement were several members of Detroit City Council, including Council President Mary Sheffield who has been a strong supporter of GDYT and other programs that deliver opportunities for Detroit youth.
“Access to opportunity and exposure is critical to the development of our youth and positively impacts their trajectory in life” said Council President Sheffield. “Since its inception, GDYT has served this purpose for thousands of Detroit’s youth. By allowing young Detroiters to explore various career fields and refine their skills, GDYT has been a game changer in our communities and Detroit families alike. We owe a debt of gratitude to the dozens of companies and organizations that have made a conscious effort to partner with Detroit to invest in over 8,000 young people and create a brighter future for the students and our City.”
Grow Detroit’s Young Talent was launched by Mayor Duggan in 2015, since which time it has been managed by the City of Detroit’s workforce agency, Detroit Employment Solutions Corporation. Unlike in many cities, the program has continued at full capacity every summer despite the COVID-19 pandemic.
The target budget for GDYT this year is $13.8M, a portion of which will come from more than $12M in American Rescue Plan Act funds appropriated for the program last year. The exact amount of ARPA funds being used this year will be determined prior to the start of the summer work experience.
“COVID-19 has created challenges for families across our nation not just in Detroit, and the importance of knowing that this program will be there for our young people cannot be overstated,” said Terri Weems, President of Detroit Employment Solutions Corporation. “The opportunity for Detroit youth not only to get real-world experience, but also to contribute to their family budget, or save for college, or make connections that can help them, or add references to resumes, these things are invaluable as our youth begin to plan their futures.”
While GDYT receives support from a large number of both big and small companies in the Detroit metro area, the program is also supported by major national corporations such as JPMorgan Chase, which has actively supported both youth and adult programs in Detroit.
“Detroit’s revitalization starts by ensuring our youth are set up for career success and mobility,” said Byna Elliott, global head of Advancing Black Pathways at JPMorgan Chase and GDYT board member. “We’re proud of our decade-long investment in Detroit and strong partnerships, like Grow Detroit’s Young Talent, who help more youth access summer jobs and build the skills, confidence, and expertise they need for the future.”
A key multi-year supporter of GDYT in the Metro Detroit area is the Skillman Foundation, which has historically been one of the most engaged in supporting the goals of Grow Detroit’s Young Talent and in advocating for youth opportunities in general.
“Job experiences are a rite of passage for teenagers and young adults, expanding life’s possibilities while preparing them for success in the world of work. Grow Detroit’s Young Talent is an important component to ensure employment opportunities are provided to Detroit youth, and specifically, to Black youth. It’s fueling our city’s economic engine by making opportunity accessible and equitable,” said Terry Whitfield, Policy & Systems Partnership Manager for The Skillman Foundation.
How to get involved
Detroit youth interested in a summer job should visit GDYT.org to apply. The registration portal will be open until May 31, 2023. Organizations interested in becoming a sponsor or providing summer work experiences for Detroit youth may also register at the GDYT website.
There are several ways to partner with GDYT:
- Become a Funding Partner by making a financial contribution to the GDYT program to support summer work experiences for Detroit youth.
- Become an Employer Partner by providing a job at your designated worksite and sponsoring a six-week paid work experience (120 hours).
- Be recognized as an Affiliate Partner by directly hiring youth through an existing summer program that you operate.
- Volunteer to support key program components (i.e. career fairs, work-readiness training, etc.)
- Explore options to provide year-round and/or permanent employment opportunities to Detroit youth.