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Businesses Sought to Provide Jobs for Boys and Young Men of Color at Career Summit

By Daniel Lai

Building on its effort to grow the region’s economy and connect young people with jobs and sustainable career pathways, the Detroit Regional Chamber, together with My Brother’s Keeper Alliance and Mayor Mike Duggan, are recruiting regional businesses to pledge employment opportunities and/or career training for boys and young men of color.

The goal is to sign up business partners who are committed to provide 250 jobs for hire on-site during the Pathways to Success Career Summit on Nov. 14 at Cobo Center.

“This program is about creating real opportunity, which is something we really haven’t done enough of,” Duggan said during a recruitment meeting with local, state and national companies at city hall last week.

In addition, the Summit brings together HR representatives and career coaches to provide everything from resume writing workshops and interview prep to free haircuts and tips on how to properly tie a necktie.

“In the era that we’re living in now, the importance of business being involved in the solutions for these young people is critical,” said Blair Taylor, CEO of My Brother’s Keeper Alliance. “Providing jobs gets someone into a position of economic viability — managing money and responsibility — but also turns these young people into positive role models for others to follow.”

Taylor said there are 5.5 million young people ages 18-24 across the United States that are currently not working and not attending school.

“That is the biggest issue of our time. You can’t take 5.5 million people out of this economy and thrive,” he said.

Tammy Carnrike, the Detroit Regional Chamber’s chief operating officer, said partnering with the Mayor and My Brother’s Keeper is a natural extension of the Chamber’s effort to grow opportunity in the region and infuse the talent pipeline with a qualified workforce.

“We have employers looking to hire. Matching talent to employer needs is what is going to help us continue the momentum in Detroit and Michigan,” she said.

Pointing to the success of Grow Detroit’s Young Talent (GDYT), a summer employment initiative led by Duggan that helped provide jobs to 8,000 young people this past summer, Carnrike said the business community in the Detroit region is hungry for talent.

Samantha Green, human resources manager for Applebees, said the company participated in GDYT and ended up hiring five employees at the end of the summer. Green said the experience was very positive and Applebees is looking forward to hiring more young people at the Pathways to Success Career Summit.

“We’re very excited to get involved. Our restaurant managers had nothing but positive things to say about our previous hires through these employment opportunities,” she said.

For more information on signing up for the Pathways to Success Career Summit, contact Robert Troutman, director of education and talent programs, at or 313.596.0478.