Detroit Employment Solutions Corporation (DESC) is one of 11 organizations nationwide to benefit from a $21 million grant from the White House Summer Opportunity Project, focused on providing work opportunities for youth.
In Detroit, the $2 million in funding over two years will allow DESC to provide career development activities to 1,000 youth as part of the Mayor’s ‘Grow Detroit’s Young Talent’ (GDYT) program.
“Access to a job in the summer and beyond can make all the difference to a young person – especially those who don’t have access to many resources and opportunities,” said President Barack Obama as he announced the award.
The White House’s Summer Opportunity Project hopes that participation in a jobs program will lead to a reduction in the amount of youth-related crime over the summer months, in addition to helping prepare youth with real life work experiences they will need to attain a job in the future.
“This grant will let us bring more employment opportunities and training to young Detroiters,” said Jose Reyes, interim president and CEO of DESC. “We appreciate that the Obama administration sees the difference that we are making in Detroit and is helping us to expand our efforts.”
Mayor Mike Duggan’s GDYT program has received over 11,000 applications for the 8,000 available placements, and the number of businesses involved has more than doubled since last year. Employers have the option to hire youth directly, sponsor a youth experience or split the cost fifty-fifty with GDYT. The program also includes 12 hours of pre-work readiness training and 24 hours of ongoing training, which includes financial literacy.
DESC supports the GDYT program and is committed to aiding its growth. “We must adapt to fit the needs of prospective employers and employees,” said Stephanie Nixon, DESC director of programs and service innovation.
DESC will be creating a smartphone app to display program opportunities and support services. In addition, they will begin the use of digital badges to act as online certification to verify previous experiences and skillsets.
“The summer-only program will now be year-round thanks to the White House Youth grant,” said Nixon.