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Detroit workforce agency to open youth training center with $1.1 million federal grant

Photo: Erik Howard / SER Metro Detroit
City workforce agency Detroit Employment Solutions Corp. plans to provide education and training to 60 youths using a $1.1 million U.S. Department of Labor grant.

Young people who aren’t working or in school will be able to earn a GED, receive leadership and career skills training, and get post-program placement assistance through the East Side Youthbuild Center, according to a news release. It will funnel participants into full-time jobs, apprenticeships or post-secondary education.

A search is underway for a facility to house the new center, the release said.

The funding comes as part of a national initiative called Youthbuild aimed at “at-risk” youth between the ages of about 16 and 24, according to the federal labor department’s website. The local programs are generally operated by nonprofits or public organizations.

DESC is the lead agency overseeing the creation of the new Detroit center, but it is working with the Southeast Michigan Community Alliance to administer the grant, DESC President and CEO Nicole Sherard-Freeman said in an emailed statement. They’ll also work with Southwest Solutions, Michigan AFL-CIO Human Resources Development Inc. and the Michigan Building and Construction Trades Council to implement the center’s services, the news release said.

The two-year grant term will finance three eight-month sessions with 20-24 participants each, according to the release. The center will also support the students and track their progress for a year afterward.

In addition to classroom learning, the students will train in carpentry, plumbing, brickwork and other skills needed for a construction job or apprenticeship, Sherard-Freeman said in the emailed statement. Each group will rehab a home to be provided by Southwest Solutions.

This will be the city’s second Youthbuild center.

“In a city of 139 square miles, more youth need access to the opportunities available through Youthbuild,” Sherard-Freeman said in the release. “This new grant gives us the ability to expand this important work to include more young Detroiters.”

The other center, run by SER Metro-Detroit on Detroit’s west side, has been around for 10 years, said Ann Leen, assistant vice president of youth programs.

SER Metro applied to renew its Department of Labor grant for the program, now called SER Youthbuild Learning Academy, Leen said. It also received $1.1 million, and plans to add high school diploma completion to its services this year, she said.

Source: Crain’s Detroit Business