Mayor Mike Duggan launches Grow Detroit's Young Talent 2021 summer work experience for over 8,000 Detroit youth


Mayor Mike Duggan launches Grow Detroit's Young Talent 2021 summer work experience for over 8,000 Detroit youth

  • Mayor announces 8,048 summer work experiences for Detroit youth
  • GDYT program passes milestone of 50,000 jobs since launch in 2015
  • 2021 program to feature a blend of in-person and remote experiences

Mayor Mike Duggan was joined today by employers, funding partners,  and others to announce the launch of this year’s summer jobs program for 8,048 Detroit youth ages 14-24. The Grow Detroit’s Young Talent (GDYT) program is in its seventh year and has now surpassed the milestone of over 50,000 summer job experiences created for Detroit youth.

Joining the Mayor were GDYT youth who will be working this summer with Ford and RAM Construction, helping Ford renovate the historic Michigan Central Station building and surrounding area into a vibrant, inclusive and walkable mobility innovation district.

“This is a day I look forward to every year, but this year is particularly special,” said Mayor Duggan. “This year, we are creating our 50,000th GDYT summer work experience.”

The 2021 program will feature a blend of in-person and virtual work experiences, including an expanded skilled trades track that provides opportunities to work with RAM Construction at a range of locations around the city, including the renovation of the Michigan Central Station.

“In 2020, three GDYT youth worked with Ford and RAM Construction on the Michigan Central Station project,” said Mayor Duggan. “That partnership was so successful that all were offered full-time jobs, and this year the number of youth working there has increased from three to 15 which goes to show what our city’s young people are capable of when they are given opportunity.”

“We want the next mobility revolution to be sparked right here in Detroit at Michigan Central and it must include equity and access for all,” said Mary Culler, Ford’s development director for the project and president of Ford Fund. “Creating education and workforce training opportunities that link Detroit residents to the jobs of the future is critical to this – whether you want to be a software engineer or a mason. We are proud to partner with GDYT to offer Detroit youth the opportunity to build a long-term career in the skilled trades and play a role in restoring one of our city’s most iconic landmarks.”

GDYT this year will offer a range of career experience opportunities for the city’s youth. 5,000 virtual Career Exploration Experiences will be provided, including Junior Police and Fire Cadets, in addition to 2,000 in-person experiences across a range of employment sectors such as skilled trades, supply-chain management, retail, healthcare, and hospitality. The remaining experiences will be hybrid in-person/virtual positions and industry-led training. Many youth involved in the virtual elements of the program will connect via laptops and Wi-Fi hotspots provided by GDYT either last year or this year.

“Our mission is to ensure that Detroit youth, no matter their circumstances, have an opportunity to fully engage in meaningful work experiences,” said Stephanie Nixon, Chief Program Officer for Detroit at Work. “The experiences they get this year, whether in-person or virtual, will not only expose them to in-demand occupations but also spark their passion to enter a career pathway leading to their future success.”

The increased number of youth working at the Michigan Central Station and other locations across the city will gain experience in a wide range of construction disciplines such as masonry, carpentry, and laborers, learning skills that will allow them to determine which skilled trades paths appeal most to them.

“We were delighted with the performance of the GDYT youth that worked with us last year, so increasing the number of places offered this year was a logical next step in our commitment to both the program and the city,” said Robert Mazur, President, and Owner of RAM Construction. “It is my hope that many of these young people will choose skilled trades for a long-term career, and the experience they get this summer across a variety of projects will give them the perfect foundation on which to build.”

GDYT has also partnered with Carhartt to ensure that youth working at the location have the clothing and equipment they need on the job, with the Michigan apparel manufacturer donating equipment including work boots, pants, shirts, and tool belts to each GDYT participant, in addition to equipment such as hard hats and PPE provided by RAM Construction.

“Our hope is that this in-kind donation – combined with a financial contribution to GDYT for workforce development – will help make a meaningful impact,” said Todd Corley, Senior Vice President of Inclusion and Sustainability at Carhartt. “By continuing to support, educate, and develop this city’s next generation of hardworking people, we can help Detroit’s youth build a better future for themselves, a better community, and ultimately, a better world for all.”

As in previous years, GDYT is working with key implementation partner Connect Detroit to make many of the opportunities available by aligning activities across key community-based organizations and municipal departments, as well as the Junior Police and Fire Cadet Program.

“Through the efforts of GDYT, Mayor Mike Duggan, and countless philanthropic, corporate, and community leaders, Detroit is placing its youth on the road to success,” said Dierk L. Hall, President, and CEO, Connect Detroit. “This summer, our young people have the opportunity to not only explore potential careers while honing skills employers are seeking, but also cultivate truly meaningful relationships with community members and organizations that make Detroit run. These are lessons and relationships that will last a lifetime.”

Grow Detroit’s Young Talent has raised over $11.3M in 2021 to support the program from a wide range of funding partners, including Connect Detroit funding partner JPMorgan Chase.

“Between persistent racial injustice, the COVID-19 pandemic, and the resulting economic downturn, it’s been a challenging time for families across the country,” said Jason Tinsley, Michigan Market Manager for J.P. Morgan Private Bank and Chair of the firm’s Detroit Market Leadership Team. “And especially in under-resourced communities, young people are being hit particularly hard. That’s why JPMorgan Chase is working in Detroit to address this problem by identifying innovative strategies for reconnecting young people to work-based learning experiences.”

As part of JPMorgan Chase’s $350M New Skills at Work program, in 2017, the firm committed $17 million to support summer youth employment efforts. Over the past seven years, this initiative has helped more than 150,000 people across 37 countries develop in-demand skills for jobs in growing industries.

GDYT youth will complete a total of 120 program hours, earning a stipend of up to $1,800 depending on age and experience. Career experiences will run until late August.


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About GDYT

Grow Detroit’s Young Talent (GDYT) is a citywide training and employment program for young adults between the ages of 14 and 24. The program seeks to provide over 8,000 youth summer employment opportunities in partnership with Metro Detroit corporations, non-profit organizations, municipal departments, local businesses, and the philanthropic community. The strategic goals of GDYT are:

Ensure young adults have meaningful summer work experiences that create pathways to future opportunities
Connect young adults to providers and employers that can support their career goals
Introduce employers to the next generation of Detroit’s workforce
Align Detroit’s youth workforce development programs to streamline service delivery and improve outcomes
Detroit Employment Solutions Corporation (DESC) is the lead agency for GDYT. Connect Detroit is DESC’s contracted program implementation leader working with key community-based organizations, municipal departments, and Junior Police & Fire Cadet Program. For more information about GDYT, visit

List of 2021 GDYT funders available at