DETROIT (WJBK) - Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan rolled out a massive summer employment program for residents ages 14 to 24.
The goal is to fill at least 8,000 job openings.
High School senior Jalon Nelson says he's excited about Grow Detroit's Young Talent program that employs Detroit residents ages 14 to 24.
"I heard about opportunities we would have working in different professional environments and settings," he said. "Me being a senior, going off to college, this interested me to find out what I may want to do."
A major push is underway to give thousands like Jalon an opportunity to go to work this summer through the program.
"We really need every company in this town to take at least one young person," said Mayor Mike Duggan.
US Deputy Secretary of Labor Chris Lu was in town Tuesday to drive local employers to hire participants for the program.
"We are putting our money behind this effort," Lu said. "We've got about $20 million of funding coming out of the department of labor for this nationally but that's important funding it's not enough to find all the jobs we need around the country."
The Duggan administration says it has about 300 employers on board and about 20 more signed up Tuesday.
But they want 100 more to participate so they can provide 8,000 work opportunities this summer for the nearly 11,000 applicants who submitted applications.
"Probably two or three times a week I do meetings like today," Duggan said. "When a leader here like Hiram Jackson brings in three dozen business owners, we sat down and we explained the program."
The Publisher of The Michigan Chronicle says he will hire several participants and says he knows first-hand how opportunities like this can make a difference in a young person's life.
"I'm a product of these types of programs," Jackson said. "I worked every summer and grew up in the boys and girls club."
If you are an employer who is interested in this program but you don't believe you can afford to participate, city officials say they can help.
"It's $1,700 for the summer if you can't afford $1,700 we will pay half," Duggan said. "It's a six-week program that starts in the early July and is a chance to change the lives of these folks."
To learn more about the program go to gdyt.org