Grow Detroit's Young Talent helping teens find work

It may look like the menial work of a typical summer job, but this is actually the opportunity of a lifetime. Jasmine Dickens is just 15 years old - but she may have already landed her dream job.

She'll be spending the summer at Miller Canfield, an international law firm with a 160 year rich history in the city.

"Our commitment to Detroit is really heartfelt and for us to meet promising young people and introduce them to the practice of law and our firm. It's a great opportunity for us and a great opportunity for them," says Thom Linn.

Miller Canfield is one of many Detroit companies which answered the mayor's call for action to put Detroit kids to work. Last year, 3,600 14- to 26-year-olds were hired. So this year, the mayor set the bar at 5,000 - a milestone reached and passed as nearly 5,600 youth head to work this summer.

"You have people working in parks, all the way to people working in law firms such as Miller Canfield, and global accounting firms. The opportunities are far and wide but we need more businesses to step up -- we need more for our youth because the need is there," says Shawn Blanchard, the Director of Youth Services for the City of Detroit.

Blanchard says even though this year's initiative was a win, it's more like half-time since nearly 17,000 Detroit youth actually applied for the program. Blanchard says next year's expansion is already in the works, but it starts with more local businesses stepping up.

"It's not about a lack of talent, its about a lack of opportunity. So what we have here is we are providing the type of opportunity that our kids here in Detroit need to make sure they can show their talent." says Shawn Blanchard. 

Youth accepted in this year's program learned workforce etiquette before day one on the job, starting with how to interact with coworkers and superiors, and time management. Which brings us back to Jasmine, who is typing and filing away, walking the halls with her new mentors, and who knows; maybe stepping into her future.

"I would say Jasmine is a dynamic young woman with a bright career ahead of her and we hope there is chance it would include Miller Canfield that would be wonderful," says Linn.

Any business that would like to get involved the program, you can get in contact by calling 313-967-5641 or sending along an email to youthjobs@cityconnectiondetroit.org.


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