Mayor Mike Duggan today announced a series of realignments and new hires in his administration. Key among the changes are the naming of new leadership for the city’s growing workforce development efforts and a new Chief Public Health Officer to lead the City’s Health Department. Recently, the City’s former Health Officer Dr. Joneigh Khaldun and former Workforce Development Director Jeff Donofrio accepted leadership positions within the administration of Gov. Gretchen Whitmer.
The changes announced today blend the hiring of new talent with expanded and refocused roles for current administration members.
“We are fortunate to have a deep bench of talent within the administration to step into leadership roles when needed and have been successful in attracting outstanding new talent to our team,” Mayor Duggan said. “Each of these individuals brings outstanding track records and in their respective roles add a new dimension to our efforts to continually improve how we serve our residents.”
New leadership team to guide workforce development efforts
Several of the moves support the Mayor’s strong focus on getting Detroiters prepared for and placed into well-paying jobs through Detroit at Work.
To lead these efforts, Mayor Duggan has named Nicole Sherard-Freeman his Executive Director for Workforce Development. Since 2017, Sherard-Freeman has served as President and CEO of the Detroit Employment Solutions Corporation (DESC) – the city’s workforce development arm. Under her leadership, DESC significantly contributed to the success of Detroit at Work, which has provided training to more than 3,000 Detroit residents in in-demand fields such as skilled trades, heath care, IT, logistics, hospitality and more.
Recently, Sherard-Freeman helped lead the transformation of Detroit at Work into a full-service employment agency for major job generators. Over the past six weeks, nearly 10,000 Detroiters have completed job readiness fairs geared toward providing new manufacturing facilities with job-ready candidates.
Born and raised in Detroit, Sherard-Freeman is a graduate of Renaissance High School, holds a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration, and has completed graduate studies in Organizational Management and Development at Fielding Graduate University.
“I’m excited to now lead the team that will deliver on the Detroit at Work promise. We will make clear and actionable pathways for Detroiters into the middle-class, and will showcase to the nation the ready-and-willing workforce that stands ready to keep rebuilding the economy in Detroit,” said Sherard-Freeman.
Terri Weems, DESC chief financial officer, will become interim President and CEO, serving until a permanent replacement is identified.
Sheilah Clay, former NSO executive to lead city’s job training quality efforts
Mayor Duggan also announced the addition of Sheilah Clay as Director of Training Quality and Retention at DESC, a new position that will focus on delivering and measuring outcomes of Detroit at Work career centers to get Detroiters connected to jobs.
Clay joins the administration after retiring from the Neighborhood Service Organization last year, where she was President and CEO since 2000. There, Clay led the planning and development of a $20 million shelter and permanent supportive housing project for the homeless population on the city’s east side. The center, named for Clay, broke ground earlier this year. Clay also led the redevelopment of the historic Bell Building into new supportive housing and NSO office space.
Clay championed workforce development efforts with NSO, and brings more than three decades of experience in human services to DESC where she will report to Sherard-Freeman. Her experience with health, housing, homelessness, the justice system, and many other aspects of human-centered work will help DESC round out a more strategic and integrated approach to Detroit at Work.
“Sheilah has spent her career fighting for and creating opportunity for Detroiters and I’m thrilled that she will be bringing her talents and deep community experience to this new role,” said Mayor Duggan.
Dee Marx Prosi, who has led all of the Detroit at Work branding and promotion, will now serve as its Director of Outreach and Communications. In her role she will build on the Mayor’s efforts to have Detroit at Work serve as Detroit’s employment agency. Prosi will work closely with companies seeking to hire Detroiters and working with them to identify qualified candidates or training needs to build a pipeline of Detroiters with the necessary skills to match the opportunities. Prior to joining the city in 2017, Prosi was Senior Vice President of Marketing for the Detroit Medical Center from 2004 to 2017.
Mayor taps Henry Ford Health System Exec to lead Health Department
Mayor Duggan also is pleased to welcome Denise Fair as Detroit’s new Chief Public Health Officer, where she will oversee all of the city’s public health programs, as well as Animal Care & Control. Fair comes from Henry Ford Health System, and brings over a decade of expertise in managing a wide array of medical centers across the region. She is board certified in healthcare management as a Fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives.
“Denise is an outstanding leader in the field of health care and we are extremely fortunate to have been able to recruit her to lead Detroit Health Department,” said Mayor Duggan. “She is a talented and collaborative administrator who will be able to provide the vision and leadership stability needed to move the health department forward.”
Fair received her Bachelor of Arts at the University of Michigan- Ann Arbor and a Master of Public Health at the University of California Berkeley School of Public Health.
Director of LEAN Team to fill new role: Chief Administrative Officer
Bethany Melitz, director of the city’s Lean Processing Team will step into the newly created role of Chief Administrative Officer. In this role, Melitz will lead strategic planning for the city, and work on cross-departmental projects like the city’s metrics and demolition. Melitz will also oversee Building Safety, Safety Engineering and Environmental Department (BSEED).
“As director of our Lean Team, Bethany has demonstrated a real talent for improving city services and processes across departments like Police, DDOT, Water and Sewerage and more,” the Mayor said. “She has helped to build a culture of continual process improvement that she will be able to expand into more important city services.”
Prior to leading the Lean Team, Bethany served as the Deputy Treasurer for Clinton Township, supporting the operations of billing, collecting, and processing taxes. Before that role, Melitz worked as a member of the Lean team, joining the city in 2015. Melitz has a Bachelor of Science in chemical engineering from Arizona State University and a Master’s degree in applied mathematics from the University of Central Florida.
Arthur Jemison to focus on Planning, Housing & Development
Current Chief of Services and Infrastructure Arthur Jemison will take on a more focused role following the planned departure of Planning Director Maurice Cox, who is expected to become Chicago’s Planning Commissioner this fall. Jemison will serve as Group Executive for planning, housing and development. The Mayor also plans to nominate Jemison to take on the duties of the planning director as outlined in the city’s charter. Jemison’s nomination would require confirmation by Detroit City Council.
In addition to Planning, Jemison will also oversee the Housing and Revitalization Department, implementation of the Mayor’s Strategic Neighborhood Fund and Affordable Housing Leverage Fund and act as the primary liaison to the Detroit Housing Commission and the Detroit Land Bank Authority.