Opportunities open up for youth internships in Oakland County

Amelia Benavides-Colón
The Detroit News

Waterford — Oakland County is seeking young people 16-24 to fill summer internships and other employment opportunities through a program that launches this month and continues through December.

The Oakland NEXT: Summer Young Professionals program is administered by Oakland County Michigan Works! The goal of the program is to offer paid internship and work experiences in a variety of fields including construction, manufacturing, health care and information technology, the county said. 

"It’s critical we grow our workforce in Oakland County," County Executive David Coulter, said in a statement. "Internships and paid work experiences are essential for both young people who are ready to begin their careers, as well as those who are still exploring their options. Likewise, employers will have the chance to connect with potential full-time job candidates."

Young people ages 16-24 years-old who are looking for career-oriented employment opportunities are invited to apply to the Oakland NEXT: Summer Young Professionals program administered by Oakland County Michigan Works!

Participants in the program can expect to learn what it's like to enter the workforce and get real-world experience, Oakland County Michigan Works! Director Jennifer Llewellyn said. 

"Last year’s Summer Young Professionals program was a huge success, with a record number of people registering to participate and being placed with employers,” Llewellyn said. “We expect even more interest this year as the country rebounds from the pandemic."

Eligibility is based on several factors and will be determined on a case-by-case basis. Tuition assistance to earn certification and other financial support will be provided by the program.

According to a survey by the National Association of Colleges and Employers, 43% of businesses plan to offer hybrid internship programs this summer, which feature a combination of virtual and in-person experiences. This can be especially important as the number of skilled labor workers dwindles. 

"Young people can take advantage of internships and apprenticeships and earn as they learn on the job, without incurring a huge amount of student debt," said Installation Crew Recruiter Claude Lafnear.  "Many don’t realize how important that is until later in their adult life. These opportunities can turn into good-paying, rewarding jobs."

Both individuals and employers interested can check out OakGov.com/YoungProfessionals for more information.

The city of Detroit has a similar program, Grow Detroit's Young Talent (GDYT), for city residents 14-24 years old that provides employment and training in various fields.

Those jobs vary from community cleanups and event planning to junior police or fire cadets. 

Last year GDYT employed 8,000 of the cities youth and they hope to hit the same benchmark this year.

More information about GDYT can be found at gdyt.org.