Detroit youth urged to make most of summer jobs
Detroiter Tayvon Sewell, 16, will spend his summer working with children at a local daycare. He’ll feed them, clean up and make sure they’re having fun.
Tayvon is among the more than 8,100 Detroit youth employed at one of more than 530 work sites in the Grow Detroit’s Young Talent Program. The Detroit Delta Prep student has participated in the program since its launch in 2015.
“I learned how to save money, money management and responsibility,” Tayvon said Friday during an event for the program.
Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan, business and community leaders and youths held a news conference Friday at the Boys and Girls Club on Schoenherr to highlight the program, which provides jobs for youth ages 14 to 24 in locations including city departments, construction sites, banks and nonprofits.
“There will be a whole range of job descriptions,” Duggan said. “You have a mix of young people this summer.”
Most participants will start their jobs July 10 and work for 20 hours a week for six weeks. The wages range between $7.50 to $9.50 per hour depending on the work site, officials said.
Duggan told the young workers that sometimes they get an assignment their first summer that they’ll love and other times they don’t. He encouraged them to do their best and get a good recommendation.
“If you do well, you’ll get a chance to be where you most want to be,” he said.
This year’s program exceeded its goal to employ 8,000 youth from Detroit. More than 12,000 applied for a position this year and workers were selected in May and June, city officials said. Ten million dollars were raised to help pay for the program. Among the donors are the Ralph C. Wilson Foundation, which contributed $1 million, and Dresner Foundation, which pledged $500,000, officials said.
Nancy Moody, vice president of public affairs for DTE Energy, encouraged the young workers to show up for work on time, be interactive and curious.
“What you are right now are the role models to the young people coming behind you,” Moody said. “When you do your best and when you prove that Detroit’s young people are going to be Detroit’s revitalization you are opening up many more doors so that next year we’ll have 14,000 jobs.”
Moody said DTE Energy has increased its summer jobs from 20 to 120.
The Detroit-based utility hopes in five years to provide summer jobs for 5,000 youth between DTE Energy and its suppliers, she said. Youth work with mentors in office and field positions, she said.
Program supporters include the Skillman Foundation, Strategic Staffing Solutions and Quicken Loans. Team Schostak restaurants is the largest employer with 300 youth, followed by Jewish Vocational Services at 200 and Greening of Detroit at 150.
Tonya Allen, president and CEO of the Skillman Foundation, told the youth to learn from their mistakes during their job experiences. The program provides wraparound services, such as mentoring.
“They’re teaching them all the various work protocols you don’t learn until you go to work,” Allen said.
Detroiter Victoria Holsey, a 22-year-old recent college graduate, said she will work in the city’s health department. She’s been involved in summer job programs since 2012 through the DTE Energy Foundation.
Holsey said youth should be observant and open minded during their summer job.
“You never know what’s going to be interesting to you,” she said.