Urban Alliance, a national youth workforce development nonprofit, today announced that Margrit Allen will serve as the organization’s new Detroit Executive Director, leading regional strategy, partnerships, and operations to actively build the next generation of local talent.
In 2018, Urban Alliance expanded its flagship High School Internship Program to Detroit, helping to prepare high school seniors from under-resourced communities for a lifetime of self-sufficiency through paid internships; job skills training; one-on-one mentoring; and college and career-planning guidance. During its first two years in Detroit, Urban Alliance served over 100 youth in partnership with the Rocket Community Fund, the Rock Family of Companies, The Skillman Foundation, Bank of America, and the Detroit Public Schools Community District.
Allen comes to Urban Alliance after a career dedicated to improving workforce outcomes for Detroiters. Most recently, Allen served as the founding Detroit Director for the Center for Employment Opportunities where she launched the first Michigan presence of the nation’s largest reentry workforce development organization, and as the head of her own nonprofit strategy and capacity-building organization, MA Workforce Solutions. A Detroit native, Margrit is a proud graduate of Detroit Public Schools and started her career there as a teacher and school administrator with expertise in managing vocational and youth employment programs. Allen holds a bachelor’s degree from Marygrove College and a master’s degree from the University of Detroit Mercy, and is currently an Aspen Institute Economic Opportunity Fellow.
“Margrit’s deep understanding of the workforce development landscape in Detroit and her dedication to providing Detroiters with the tools needed for economic success make her incredible asset to Urban Alliance’s work in the city,” said Eshauna Smith, CEO of Urban Alliance. “We are excited to provide even more life-changing workforce experiences to local youth under her leadership.”
“I believe that every young man and woman deserves the opportunity to thrive, and Urban Alliance is truly making that happen for Detroit youth,” said Allen. “I am excited to continue increasing access to economic opportunity for Detroiters by leading this organization’s work here in my hometown.”
The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has hit youth from communities of color especially hard, with unemployment and disconnection rates far exceeding any other age group. 80% of Urban Alliance students contribute a portion of their paycheck toward household expenses, serving as vital sources of income for their families.