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Success Spotlight: Denzel Phipps

Community involvement unlocks job possibility for youth with cerebral palsy

In December 2014, Denzel Phipps began the employment process for his first job alongside his father, Mr. Charles Phipps. Mr. Phipps researched programs that would provide Denzel, a graduate from Henry Ford High School in Detroit with cerebral palsy, with positive interactions and program activities and found the Midnight Golf Program (MGP).
Midnight Golf

Mr. Phipps met with Mr. Tiawan Waters, Youth Case Manager at Midnight Golf Program, and was hopeful that they could guide Denzel to workplace opportunities. Mr. Waters scheduled Denzel for orientation on Dec. 10, 2014 and provided Mr. Phipps with a program outline, eligibility criteria, and examples of ways to increase Denzel’s math and reading skills to make him a better job candidate.

After orientation, Denzel was scheduled for a two-part GAIN pretest that would assess his English and Math skill levels. He tested around a 5th grade level for English, and a 2nd grade level for Math. MGP would help get Denzel to the right skill level for employment.

Denzel enrolled in MGP on Dec. 30, 2014 and participated on a regular basis. The MGP is a 30 week empowerment and mentoring experience that teaches life skills including financial literacy, college preparation, community activism, as well as, learning to play golf. Here, Denzel was able to gain the skills employers are looking for.

While attending the MGP, Denzel began interacting more openly with peers and staff. He even trained in the computer lab during his session times to help increase his reading and math levels. Ms. Sharon and Ms. Shelly, instructors at MGP, worked with Denzel to ensure he understands the material and provide support. Denzel’s had work paid off, and increased to a 6th grade level on the GAIN posttest in English.

Denzel Phipps 3-cropIn March 2015, he received certificates for Leadership and Development, Job Readiness Training, and both included soft skills needed for employment. Denzel had no previous work history, so a resume was developed with the help from Willie Smith, MGP Job Developer, and based on program participation and an anticipated position at Banner Supermarket.

Denzel, Mr. Phipps, and Mr. Waters met with management at Banner Market on May 6, 2015. The managers provided and overview of tasks and assigned Denzel to an employee trainer that very day. The Banner management team explained that this was a test to see if Denzel would be able to do daily job tasks. One week later, Denzel was offered a position at Banner Supermarket.

With the help of his supportive father, staff at Midnight Golf Program, and management at Banner Supermarket, Denzel was able overcome deficiencies in his reading and math skills and get his very first job!

Success Spotlight: Reginald Franklin

Reginald Franklin came to Detroit Employment Solution’s partner, YMCA, for their ‘iCan Achieve’ program, after seeing the great benefits and opportunities it has provided for his sister.

Reginald FranklinGrowing up in a single parent household, Reginald was unable to experience male mentorship and guidance. But through the ‘iCan Achieve’ program, he was exposed to positive role models that would guide him to success. One of these role models being his mother, who works part-time for the YMCA.

When Reginald first started the program, he was shy and introverted. As he progressed through the program, he was able to speak more comfortably in a group setting, and became more confident in articulating his ideas.

He also gained work experience throughout the summer with ‘iCan Achieve,’ and received secondary and post-secondary support. During his senior year of high school, Reginald applied to Grand Valley State University and has since been accepted.

“It has helped me prepare for college with the writing workshops and other classes,” Reginald says of the ‘iCan Achieve’ program. “I now see myself as a leader with a bright future.”

Reginald is now enrolled at Grand Valley State as a freshman studying business, but he still finds time to work part-time at the YMCA during academic breaks.

If you’re currently a student or graduate in need of assistance, we may be able to help you too! Please contact us or visit us to get the process started!

Success Spotlight: Patrick Peavy

Patrick PeavyPatrick Peavy began receiving services from the Youth Development Commission on August 23, 2013. Patrick was immediately referred to begin an employment service training program (occupational skills training) offered by the Greening of Detroit which he successfully completed with credentials in MI-OSHA, First Aid/CPR, turf installation, general turf maintenance, turf equipment operation and safety/irrigation systems maintenance. The Greening of Detroit was only able to offer a small number of youth a permanent position following training and unfortunately, Patrick was not chosen.

Although Patrick was discouraged after having completed his training, YDC staff continued to maintain contact with him. The seeds planted throughout Patrick’s Greening of Detroit Training started to show signs of growth when an opportunity to work for the City of Detroit’s General Services Department (GSD) presented itself. The Youth Development Commission referred Patrick to participate in this work experience and on April 7, 2014, Patrick began this temporary position that would last until September, 2014.

The story doesn’t end there. Right before Patrick was scheduled to end his work experience; he was informed by supervisors that due to his hard work and diligence, he was chosen to continue working full-time throughout the winter months on the snow removal team of the General Services Department. Patrick is now harvesting all the rewards and benefits as a result of his “don’t quit” attitude. Patrick learned that instant gratification is not always guaranteed and he truly came to understand the benefits of delayed gratification.

If you’re currently a student or graduate in need of assistance we may be able to help you too! Please contact us or visit us to get the process started!

Success Spotlight: Catera Walker

Catera WalkerCatera Walker entered the YES program in 2013, starting her work experience as a Junior Police Cadet. She was an excellent worker, received high praise from her supervisor and worked well with her peers. After her summer work experience came to an end, Catera returned to school at Detroit Community High School. She worked very hard, maintaining above a 3.0 grade point average throughout her junior year. She achieved her highest marks in math and science and received several awards for all‐around student excellence.

Catera returned to the YES program for the 2014 summer program year. After one week in her new job at R & W Café, management identified her as a star performer. Catera was outperforming seasonal staff at the front desk, providing high quality customer service and accurate cashiering. In short, they thought she was a “natural” for the business. While always a committed and enthusiastic student and employee, her bright smile and awesome personality also made an immediate impression.

Catera was hired outside of the summer program working up to 30 hours a week before going back to school. Catera’s interests in culinary arts and hospitality peaked after shadowing the manager at R & W, and discussing long-term career pathways in the field have provided her with clarity about college courses that align directly with her career interests.

If you’re currently a student or graduate in need of assistance we may be able to help you too! Please contact us or visit us to get the process started!

Success Spotlight: Omari McCauley

Omari McCauleyOmari McCauley entered into Detroit Employment Solutions Corporation’s Year-Round Youth Program with youth service provider, Midnight Golf Program in July 2013. Omari became part of the Detroit Summer Youth Employment Program (SYEP) that year with UAW-Ford skilled trades program. His experience included gaining technical skills utilizing hand and power tools, plate layout and blueprinting, while programming robots and troubleshooting. He plans to return this summer as an Intern.

During the school year as part of the Year-Round Youth Program, DESC provided Omari with multiple life skills, mentoring, leadership and employability skills. He took advantage of the tutoring element required of all youth service providers and achieved a 3 grade level improvement in Math.

Omari, a starting member of the Martin Luther King High School football and track teams participated in the 2014 Midnight Golf Road Trip for Success. He visited multiple colleges in North Carolina, Virginia, Maryland and Washington D.C. Prior to the program he was unsure of what he wanted to do with his life, other than to play football.

Omari graduated from high school in June 2014, receiving a full scholarship to play football at Ferris State University where Omari plans to pursue a career in automotive engineering. Omari considered time management the most important lesson learned. He will carry a full schedule next fall as an athlete and a student, knowing the importance of using his time wisely.

Good luck at Ferris State University Omari!

If you’re currently a student or graduate in need of assistance we may be able to help you too! Please contact us or visit us to get the process started!

Success Spotlight: Victoria Williams

Victoria Williams graduated from Western International High School June, 2014. Victoria participated in DESC partner, SER Metro’s Year-Round Youth Program, Youth of Promise Leadership Program (YPLP) from the time she was a sophomore. When she first enrolled she had transportation barriers, her reading and math TABE scores were lower than ideal and she lacked work experience.

Victoria Williams

Victoria received bus tickets in order to overcome her transportation barrier, increased her GPA through program tutoring services, received college readiness training and exposure programming and participated in college tours. Her improved grades resulted in a membership in the National Honor Society. She received information on college applications in addition to counseling as to which college was right for her. She was also taught how to write a proper college admissions statement, resulting in acceptances to seven colleges and universities from which she has elected to attend Eastern Michigan University (EMU) to study social work or psychology.

Victoria received career training, where she learned about work etiquette, in addition to skills such as how to write a resume, have a successful job interview and dress for success, resulting in a summer employment experience. This included full-time employment in the summer of 2013 through the highly selective MDOT, where she received mentoring and leadership development training while working to clean up neighborhoods.

Good luck at EMU Victoria!

If you’re currently a student or graduate in need of assistance we may be able to help you too! Please contact us or visit us to get the process started!