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Mayor Promotes Collaboration, Growing Young Talent at Detroit Policy Conference

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Collaboration and job creation are two areas Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan promised to continue focusing on while delivering keynote opening remarks at the fourth annual Detroit Policy Conference.

“I came here from the beginning with a very conscious thought that we’re going to change the politics of this city away from ‘us versus them’ and more toward collaboration,” Duggan said, citing the city’s collaboration with community partners like the University of Michigan and New Economy Initiative to bring the Lightweight and Modern Metals Manufacturing Innovation Institute to Detroit.

Duggan said manufacturing and business investment among entrepreneurs in the city continues to grow and city officials are working with the federal government to continue to apply for funding to remove blight and abandoned homes. Current federal funding will be depleted by August, Duggan said. The Mayor also called on businesses to embrace the next generation of talent by participating in his “Grow Detroit’s Young Talent” summer jobs initiative, which the Detroit Regional Chamber made a To-Do List item following the Mayor’s keynote at the 2014 Mackinac Policy Conference.

Duggan said the goal of the program, which kicked off with an event at the Chamber in January, is to unite existing job programs across the city and to better prepare students for professional careers and put them on a path toward success. In its first year, the Mayor challenged employers to hire 5,000 Detroit residents ages 14-24 between June and August. The Chamber is currently recruiting employers to participate.

“We need to change the conversation,” Duggan said. “If there is one thing we can all agree on, it’s that we need to create opportunity for our young people. These kids in Detroit think there is no path forward for them economically, and one of the most powerful forces in their lives can be a summer job.”

MotorCity Casino Hotel, the platinum sponsor of the Conference, also sponsored the session featuring the Mayor.