Letter: Youth have a role in the resurgence of Detroit

I have been a McDonald’s franchise owner for over 20 years in the city of the Detroit. During that time, I’ve not only watched my restaurants grow, but I have seen this resilient city endure as we fight to grow the Detroit we all want.

As a member of the Detroit Regional Chamber of Commerce Board, I believe that the Grow Detroit’s Young Talent (GDYT) program is one of the greatest examples of our city investing in our young people, and providing them with empowering experiences to succeed in their future endeavors. Each year, GDYT employs thousands of individuals ages 14 to 18 in summer jobs that prepare them to compete in a 21st century economy and learn valuable skills they will need in the job market and workplace. It also connects them with current employers and helps develop them into the workers, entrepreneurs and leaders that our city needs.

For many, this is a first job experience — an experience that highlights a variety of opportunities for success here at home using skills they already possess. By exposing young people to jobs in the restaurant industry, we’re teaching them real-world skills and translatable life lessons. Time management, patience, and effective communication skills are only the start, young people truly have the opportunity to know themselves better and build individual character while simultaneously collaborating and growing with a team.

I’m proud that my colleagues in the restaurant industry are working to pay it forward to the young people who will one day lead our community. As many do when they complete the GDYT program, I hope that our participants choose to remain at our restaurants and continue to expand their industry careers. Individual growth and opportunity don’t end with the summer. A career in the restaurant industry can lead to diverse opportunities that can last a lifetime.

Errol Service, franchise owner of 15 McDonald’s restaurants in the Metro Detroit area.