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$700,000 to Build Skills for 1,000 At-Risk Detroit Youth

Deputy Wayne County Executive Richard Kaufman announces grant for GDYT
Deputy Wayne County Executive Richard Kaufman announces grant for GDYT

Wayne County Executive Warren C. Evans’ Administration announced today a $700,000 grant, secured from the Michigan Child Care Fund, to boost the Grow Detroit’s Young Talent program.

The grant will fund summer jobs for as many as 1,000 Detroit youth, ages 14-17, who receive assistance through Wayne County’s juvenile prevention services. This effort will enable at-risk youth to gain employment, build positive relationships with adult mentors and supportive peers, and empower them to make value-based life choices.

Participants will be placed with employers through Grow Detroit’s Young Talent, a six-week summer youth employment program established by Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan that aims to provide 8,000 Detroit youth this year with work readiness training and on-the-job experience.

”These funds directly support the youth in our community who stand to benefit significantly from the training and career exploration provided by Grow Detroit’s Young Talent,” said Deputy Wayne County Executive Richard Kaufman. “When we provide resources like this, we clear a path for these youth to take an important step in the right direction. This investment will pay it forward for future generations and as a result, our communities become stronger.”

Wayne County’s Department of Health, Veterans and Community Wellness leveraged its relationship with the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services to secure the County’s $700,000 contribution from the Child Care Fund. In addition, the Detroit Employment Solutions Corporation (DESC) raised the necessary $700,000 match from the philanthropic community to bring the total contribution to $1.4 million. This is but another example of Detroit and Wayne County working together to improve our community.

Grow Detroit’s Young Talent’s mission to provide youth with work-readiness training and on-the-job experiences are aligned with a priority of the Evans Administration to provide youth, in particular those who are at-risk, with workforce opportunities.

“We are excited to work with Wayne County on bringing more life-changing opportunities and work experiences to young people in our city,” Mayor Duggan said. “This is about giving young people the life and work skills that will put them on the path to bright futures and careers.

“Summer jobs are such an important part of a young person’s life, and we need to make sure that as many young people in Detroit as possible have the same opportunity.”

News of the partnership with Wayne County comes on the heels of the Grow Detroit’s Young Talent program receiving a $2 million federal grant awarded over two years.

Richard Kaufman presents $700,000 check to Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan
Richard Kaufman presents $700,000 check to Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan

Last year, the City of Detroit provided jobs to 5,600 youths in the city, so this year, Mayor Duggan set the goal of expanding it to 8,000. More than 11,000 youth ages 14-24 from across the city of Detroit applied for GDYT in five weeks this year, and more than 200 employers have signed on to participate so far, nearly twice the number last year. Businesses can still join by registering at by May 30.

The youth start work July 6. Teens 14 to 18 years of age are paid $8 an hour, and those 18-24 receive $9.50 an hour. Most participants work 20 hours a week for six weeks. They will also receive 12 hours of work readiness training and another 24 hours of training, such as financial literacy education.

Wayne County has partnered with 23 youth service agencies to nominate and screen youth who are eligible to participate in the program. The youth selected will undergo an assessment to ensure that they meet the eligibility criteria and that they have a genuine interest in achieving success in the program. United Way of Southeastern Michigan will administer the contribution, and work with DESC and the youth service agencies to place youth with employers.

This collaboration builds upon the Evans Administration’s ongoing commitment to help transform the lives of at-risk youth. Earlier this year, Executive Evans announced a partnership with Detroit-based Black Family Development to provide job training for at-risk youth and those released from Wayne County’s Juvenile Detention facility. The program is slated to launch in late summer of 2016.