Grow Detroit’s Young Talent employment program launches now

The road to meaningful summer employment for more than 8,000 Detroit youth begins today with the opening of the application period for Mayor Mike Duggan’s Grow Detroit’s Young Talent program.
Launched in 2015, GDYT is the premier coordinator, fundraiser and marketer for all local businesses that want to provide summer youth employment opportunities for youth ages 14-24.  Last year, 8,127 youth were employed at 659 work sites through 230 employers for six weeks.  Prior to GDYT, approximately 2,500 Detroit youth would have summer jobs each year through a series of smaller independent programs.
At a kickoff breakfast hosted at DTE Energy headquarters Wednesday, Jan. 31, the Mayor was joined by many of the program’s key supporters, including Gerry Anderson, DTE Energy Chairman and CEO; Cindy Pasky, Strategic Staffing Solutions President and CEO; Tonya Allen, Skillman Foundation President and CEO; and Nicole Sherard Freeman, Detroit Employment Solutions Corporation CEO.  The Mayor also acknowledged the City’s other key partner – Connect Detroit.
“Over the past few years, the business, philanthropic and government communities have worked together to send an important message to our youth that we are committed to helping prepare them for their futures,” said Mayor Duggan.   “We are continuing that tradition this year and improving the program to provide many GDYT participants the opportunity for training beyond the six weeks of the program.”
As young people start to apply for the summer jobs that will be available starting in July, the Mayor also is encouraging Detroit area companies and foundations to provide funding and work experiences for Detroit young people, ages 14 – 24.
“DTE Energy is committed to ensure our youth are prepared to build a future for themselves and Detroit by offering meaningful work experiences,” said Gerry Anderson, chairman and CEO, DTE Energy.  “I encourage other business leaders to join us in supporting Grow Detroit’s Young Talent to improve the number and quality of summer jobs inside their businesses.”
Youth looking for summer employment and organizations that want to participate should go to today, the Mayor said.
A University of Michigan study proves GDYT is improving outcomes for Detroit’s youth. Based on a multi-year analysis of GDYT conducted by U-M’s Youth Policy Lab, participants, two years after participating in the program, are:

  • More likely to be enrolled in school
  • Less likely to be chronically absent
  • More likely to take the SAT
  • More likely to have graduated from high school

“Summer jobs are an important step in building a young person’s career,” said Cindy Pasky, Strategic Staffing Solutions CEO and co-chair of the Mayor’s Workforce Development Board. “That job means new skills, experiences, networks, and confidence.  Young people will come away with a better sense of the opportunities open to them, and they’ll begin to work toward achieving them.”
A new component of this year’s GDYT program is the career specialist pilot program.  Under the pilot program, 400 students across five schools will work with career specialist partners and school staff to get career-specific instruction year round.  The goal is a 25% increase in the number of employer-paid jobs and internships at private sector companies. These training and internships opportunities will be aligned with several high-growth/high-demand employment sectors.
Other key components of the GDYT program include:

  • Expanded vocational training
  • Opportunities to earn industry recognized training certifications
  • Career-pathway internships for second- and third-year GDYT youth ages 16 and older

In addition to announcing the opening of enrollment for both employers and youths, Mayor Duggan welcomed Jason Lee as the new GDYT executive director. Lee will oversee the program and raise funds to provide work experiences. Last year, $9.2 million was raised for the program.  The goal for 2018 is $11 million and will cover the raise in minimum wage and additional staff.
Detroit youth interested in a summer job should apply at  Businesses interested in becoming a sponsor or providing summer work experiences for Detroit youth may register at the GDYT Web site also.
After an individual applies through, the applicant will be screened.  During May and June, employers will have the opportunity to interview candidates at GDYT-sponsored career fairs. Otherwise, youth applicants will be selected based upon both employer request and a random selection process among the applicants.
Orientation sessions preparing successful GDYT applicants for the workplace will take place and include 12 hours of work readiness training at a worksite.
2018 Program Timeline
January 31       Application Process Begins at
March 17         Application Process Ends
April                Applicants Contacted, Start of Employer Match and Interview Process
May – June      Job Readiness Training and Orientation Sessions
Early July         Work Experience Begins
Last Year’s Major GDYT Sponsors

  • Accenture LLP
  • Bank of America Charitable Foundation
  • Chemical Bank
  • Children’s Hospital of Michigan Foundation
  • Citizens Bank
  • City of Detroit (CDBG)
  • Community Foundation of SE Michigan
  • Crain’s Communications
  • Detroit Pistons
  • Detroit Wayne Mental Health Authority
  • Dresner Foundation
  • DTE Energy
  • DTE Energy Foundation
  • Employer Partners Matching Funds
  • Federal Government (WIOA, DOL)
  • Fifth Third Bank
  • Ford Foundation
  • Ford Fund
  • GM Global Corporate Giving
  • JPMorgan Chase
  • John S. and James L. Knight Foundation
  • Kresge Foundation
  • MGM Grand Detroit
  • Mrs. Marjorie S. Fisher Fund
  • PNC Bank
  • Ralph C. Wilson Jr. Foundation
  • Skillman Foundation
  • Strategic Staffing Solutions
  • Suzanne Shank, Siebert Cisneros Shank & Co., LLC
  • United Way for Southeastern Michigan
  • Wayne County
  • WK Kellogg Foundation




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