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$500,000 Skillman grant gives 5,000 Detroit kids work this summer; employers needed to sign up


We know Detroit kids have talent and are ready to work. Now thanks to a $500,000 grant by the Skillman Foundation, 5,000 young folks have the opportunity to work this summer and receive more than just the usual nudge in lacing up those work boots.  They will build skills that help them to achieve, connect and thrive in the future.

Logo-GrowDetroitsYoungTalent-SOD1The catch is more companies need to get involved in the citywide summer youth employment initiative called Grow Detroit’s Young Talent (GDYT). It is a collaborative effort by a group of national and local organizations working together and, for the first time, includes the City of Detroit.

As of Wednesday, March 18, enough employers had signed up to support all but 1,040 positions for this summer. More employers are needed. GDYT placed 1,897 Detroit youth in paid work experiences during the summer and fall of 2014.

Any employer signing up gets support such as employer training, work readiness, training for those they take into their business, an employee toolkit, pay roll assistance and more.  Companies interested in hiring these young workers can call 313-967-5641 or find more information here

“We have space and a need for other Detroit-area businesses to take advantage of this program,” said Dierk Hall, president & CEO of City Connect. “From financial support provided by the City of Detroit to all the other supports that we offer employers through Grow Detroit’s Young Talent, this program makes it incredibly easy and affordable for businesses to get summer help while supporting Detroit youth at the same time. It’s a win-win-win for the city, for the businesses, and for kids, and we are ready to talk with any employer that wants to be a part of that.”

Skillman-useThe Skillman Foundation says the $500,000 grant will go to two organizations … City Connect and the Philadelphia Youth Network.

Partnering with Skillman since 2009, City Connect Detroit will get the lion’s share of the money with a $400,000 grant. Called the backbone of the program, the nonprofit will administer Grow Detroit’s Youth Talent, provide training to youth, secure job placements and conduct evaluations for the six-week program.

The remaining $100,000 goes to Philadelphia Youth Network. This online portal, which was developed and refined in Philadelphia and Detroit, uses an advanced algorithm to place young people with the right employer.  Run by City Connect, it will also provide support for evaluation and payroll services.  Both employers and employees can sign up.


Mayor Mike Duggan at last year’s Mackinac Policy Conference

Through the new partnership with the City of Detroit, Mayor Mike Duggan has agreed the city will pick up half of the $2,000 cost per kid for up to 5,000 of employed youth.  Last year at the Mackinac Policy Conference, he vowed to find jobs for 5,000 kids, ages 12 to 24.

“A summer job is so much more than a paycheck for young people,” said Kristen McDonald, vice president, program and policy at Skillman. “It’s their connection to future employability, their introduction to the norms of the working world, and their chance to develop skills and discover talents they otherwise won’t know they have. We are excited to continue support Grow Detroit’s Young Talent and especially excited to see it grow in new ways this summer.”

W.K. Kellogg Foundation, Detroit Employment Solutions Corp, Chase Bank, DTE Foundation, the Marjorie S. Fisher Fund, and Bank of America are all also supporters of Grow Detroit Youth’s Talent.

Detroit has a long standing tradition and worldwide reputation for a strong work ethic. Whether this is a way to preserve it, or simply prove it never left, it is still here and being nurtured.

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