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8,000 Jobs: Businesses Needed to Grow Detroit’s Young Talent

Duggana and the kids

Building on the goal of providing sustainable career pathways for young Detroiters, more than 150 business and community leaders helped kick off the second annual Grow Detroit’s Young Talent (GDYT) summer employment initiative at the Detroit Regional Chamber on Tuesday.

The citywide summer jobs program, open to Detroiters ages 14 to 24, will again run for six weeks in July and August. Participants are exposed to the interview process of today’s job market and real-world experience through professional training and mentorship. (Learn more and sign up to participate in GDYT here).

“We know that jobs and youth are key to the revitalization of Detroit,” said Bank of America President Matthew Elliott, who also presented Mayor Mike Duggan with the company’s financial contribution. “We are motivated and excited to connect our small businesses with these young and talented youth throughout the city.”

As it did last year, the Chamber will lead efforts to help recruit businesses to participate in the initiative. The business community’s support will help ensure there are a diverse set of opportunities to further improve the talent pipeline in the region. Last year over 100 businesses provided more than 5,000 jobs.

This year’s goal is to connect 8,000 youth with jobs.

“The county will provide 1,000 kids and we are going to use our resources to support these kids while they are a part of this job training program,” said Wayne County Executive Warren Evans. “This is a wonderful opportunity to provide students with exposure to work, and it sure doesn’t hurt to put a little money in their pocket.”

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, Comerica Bank, DMC Group Inc. and United Way for Southeastern Michigan are among the companies participating in the initiative.

“We have an enormous amount of talent in this city,” Duggan said at the kickoff. “In the neighborhoods there aren’t a lot of role models that (young Detroiters) see waking up at 8 a.m. So for them to able to lead by example and contribute to their neighborhood, and more importantly their family, means the world and much more for our communities.”

The program is funded by Bank of America, DTE Energy Foundation, JPMorgan Chase, Max M. & Marjorie S. Fisher Fund of the Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan, The Skillman Foundation, the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, and other business, philanthropic and community leaders throughout the region.

“The students are why we are doing this; we need a city that is welcoming to everyone and we need to remember that especially includes the people who are already here and the kids are an incredibly important piece of that,” said Chamber President Sandy Baruah. “They need opportunity, role models and work experience that they can look to for years to come. We are incredibly proud to have GDYT here at the Chamber and again in the summer.”

Businesses can sign up to participate as an employer, donate, or get involved with Grow Detroit’s Young Talent by visiting, or contact Ricardo Marble, youth services director for the city of Detroit, at