Skillman Foundation grants $500,000 to support summer employment for 5,000 young Detroiters

More employers needed to host employees; 1,040 spots still available

DETROIT – This week, the Skillman Foundation is announcing $500,000 in grants to two organizations to support the infrastructure for a citywide summer youth employment initiative called Grow Detroit’s Young Talent.

Grow Detroit’s Young Talent is a collaborative initiative with several national and local organizations, including, for the first time, the City of Detroit. With an announcement last May at the Mackinac Policy Conference, Mayor Mike Duggan joined the effort to put kids in summer jobs and has pledged a goal of finding employment for 5,000 youth ages 14 to 24.

A $400,000 grant to City Connect Detroit will support that nonprofit to administer the program, provide training to youth, secure job placements, and conduct evaluations. City Connect Detroit has been a partner in the Grow Detroit’s Young Talent since it began in 2009 and is the backbone of the program, which places Detroit youth in six-week summer job experiences.

The second grant is $100,000 to the Philadelphia Youth Network, which brought a state-of-the-art employment portal first developed and refined in Philadelphia to Detroit. The online portal, directed and run by City Connect, allows both employers and employees to sign up for the program in one place, uses an advanced algorithm to match up the young people with the right fit employer, and provides support for evaluations and payroll services.

The Foundation funds youth employment as one strategy within its youth development program area, which has a goal to expand high-quality opportunities for youth to build skills that help them achieve, connect, and thrive.

“A summer job is so much more than a paycheck for young people,” said Vice President, Program & Policy Kristen McDonald. “It’s their connection to future employability, their introduction to the norms of the working world, and their chance to develop skills and discover talents they otherwise won’t know they have. We are excited to continue support Grow Detroit’s Young Talent and especially excited to see it grow in new ways this summer.”

Through the new partnership with the City of Detroit, Duggan has pledged the City will pay half of the $2,000 cost per youth for up to 5,000 employed youth. GDYT placed 1,897 Detroit youth in paid summer work experiences during the summer and fall of 2014. As of Wednesday, March 18, enough employers had signed up to support all but 1,040 positions for this summer.

Through the program, employers get supports that include employer training, work readiness training for their youth, an employee toolkit, payroll assistance and more. Employers who want to give back to Detroit and hire a youth can call 313-967-5641 or find more information here:

“We have space and a need for other Detroit-area businesses to take advantage of this program,” said Dierk Hall, president & CEO of City Connect. “From financial support provided by the City of Detroit to all the other supports that we offer employers through Grow Detroit’s Young Talent, this program makes it incredibly easy and affordable for businesses to get summer help while supporting Detroit youth at the same time. It’s a win-win-win for the city, for the businesses, and for kids, and we are ready to talk with any employer that wants to be a part of that.”

Other supporters of the Grow Detroit’s Young Talent program include the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, Detroit Employment Solutions Corp, Chase Bank, DTE Foundation, the Majorie S. Fisher Fund, and Bank of America.

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About the Skillman Foundation: Created in 1960, The Skillman Foundation is a private philanthropy committed to improving meaningful graduation rates in the Detroit region, so kids are ready for college, career, and life. The Foundation has assets of nearly a half-billion dollars, with an annual grants budget of $17 million. The Foundation works to achieve its goal by investing in community leadership, neighborhoods, safety initiatives, high-quality schools, social innovation, and youth development.

About City Connect Detroit: The mission of City Connect Detroit is to help metropolitan Detroit nonprofits and governments obtain increased national funding and to facilitate collaboration among nonprofits, governments, businesses, grant-makers, and others.

About the Philadelphia Youth Network: Connecting systems and leveraging resources to equip young people for academic achievement, economic opportunity, and personal success.