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Detroit targets summers jobs for 8K young residents

Nicquel Terry Ellis
The Detroit News
The city of Detroit has kicked off the fourth year of an employment program that is set to provide jobs for more than 8,000 Detroit youth this summer.

Detroit — Mayor Mike Duggan has kicked off the fourth year of an employment program that is set to provide jobs for more than 8,000 Detroit youth this summer. 

Duggan announced Monday that for the next six weeks, participants in Grow Detroit Young Talent will be working at 526 job sites across the city getting training, work experience and professional contacts.

Jobs range from law firms to auto suppliers and construction sites.

The program has raised $11.5 million, which helps ensure that youth are paid for their work, officials say.

Duggan said the program has long-term benefits, as it supports the city’s goal of growing a talent pool that would attract more companies.

It also helps the city overcome the many challenges Detroit youth face, including crime, blight and low-performing schools, Duggan said.

“We need you right now in the city of Detroit,” Duggan said to participants who gathered at Rickman Enterprise Group in Detroit on Monday. “There are jobs and opportunities coming to our city that we haven’t seen in a long time.”

The youth participants are ages 14-24 and typically work 20 hours a week.

Rickman Enterprise Group will host the Herman Moore Tackle Life Foundation’s jobs program where 30 youth will learn photography and image editing this summer.

Herman Moore, the Detroit Lions legend, said the program is about more than just work experience because youth learn life skills and healthy eating habits.

Moore said once the program provides the job candidates, his office interviews them and decides whether they will get an offer.

The program is “vital because it gives them an opportunity to connect with a lot of the companies and organizations that are looking to establish a pathway for them to get to those skilled jobs and not just have to deal with general labor,” Moore said.

“There is a commitment on our end to make sure we match ourselves with the youth. … We gotta make sure that we are flexible enough to also adapt to some of the things they may need to help them grow.”

Byron Brooks, 23, said the program helped him excel in his career at Be-Moor Radio where he now works at the public affairs director. He started in the program in 2014 as an intern at the Reggie McKenzie Foundation.

“Detroit is truly a gem of not just Michigan but the entire nation,” Brooks said. “But it’s oftentimes overlooked and oftentimes opportunities are given to people outside of the city.”

The Detroit Economic Growth Corp. has partnered with Grow Detroit Young Talent and will offer internships through its Motor City Match small business program. During the six-week paid internship 33 interns will be paired with 22 Motor City Match businesses in 11 Detroit neighborhoods.

“We’re thrilled to participate in this internship program and get the opportunity to work with the next generation of Detroit’s business owners,” said Sevyn Jones, owner of Skin Bar VII, in a statement. “Tapping into a network of excited, talented Detroiters is what a small business owner dreams about, and we can’t wait to welcome our new interns.”

Staff writer Candice Williams contributed.