Detroit's youth summer jobs program gets new CEO

Charles E. Ramirez
The Detroit News

The city of Detroit's workforce agency has tapped the head of Focus: Hope to lead the city's youth summer jobs program, officials said Friday.

Jason Lee has joined the Detroit Employment Solutions Corporation as the executive director of its Grow Detroit's Young Talent program, officials said in a statement.

Effective Feb. 12, Lee will lead efforts to raise the $10 million required to support the program, which has found summer jobs for more than 8,000 youths in each of the last two years.


He will report to Nicole Sherard-Freeman, the city workforce agency's president and CEO.

"We have enjoyed a great working partnership with Jason in his role at Focus: HOPE, and we are delighted that he will be joining us to lead this key initiative, Sherard-Freeman said. "Jason led the Detroit Area Pre-College Engineering Program (DAPCEP) for more than a decade, and has a proven commitment to creating opportunities for Detroit youth."

Lee joined Focus: Hope in 2016 from DAPCEP.

Meanwhile, Focus: Hope officials Friday named a longtime board member and former city, county and state health officer to replace Lee on an interim basis.

Effective Jan. 29, Vernice "Vern" Davis Anthony will serve as the 50-year-old nonprofit's interim CEO, the organization said in a statement.


“We wish Jason well on his new endeavor and look forward to continuing our collaboration with him, DESC and the City of Detroit,” said Jay Craig, Focus: HOPE's board chair, in a statement.

"Vern is a well-established leader within the Metro Detroit community and cares passionately about our mission. She shares our organization's values and is committed to our legacy.”

Focus: Hope was founded after the Detroit riots in 1968 to fight racism and poverty by offering educational programs and career training.