'Detroit Demo Week' engages, teaches Detroiters about demolitions

Have you ever wanted to watch an old abandoned house get torn down?

Well, Monday is the kick-off to another "Detroit Demo Week." The program is captivating, educating and enlightening residents one demolition at a time.

"Demo week was actually born out of our intentionality to make sure we stay transparent with the community," said LaJuan Counts, the director of Detroit's demolition department. 

The city's Construction and Demolition Department is tearing down blight to make way for more beauty. 

FOX 2 joined workers and residents on Monday as abandoned homes on Elmhurst Street on Detroit’s west side were demolished. 

"To see it come down – it’s a good thing, and we can move on with building this community back up," said Alvin Stokes, the president of the 10th Precinct Police/Community Relations Council. "Demolition week is a good thing because the citizens want to see eyesores come down, and this is just the start of things to come."

Several events will be taking place throughout "Detroit Demo Week." Residents are invited to learn about why these demolitions are taking place and how they will benefit the city. 

"We do demos everyday it’s just what we do. It could be five, it could be 15 in a day," Counts said. "The focus is we really want the community to come out and see exactly what one looks like."

(Detroit Construction & Demolition Department)

"I’m just happy that we're able to do this job here in the city of Detroit to get rid of some of these abandoned houses," said Lashawn Horton-Duncan, a contractor.

Detroit's Construction and Demolition Department is hiring

As part of demo week, Detroit's Construction and Demolition Department held a job fair to recruit more workers.

"I've been actively employed in the construction industry for over 30 years, and it's done really well for me," Counts said. However, "the amount of color, and women, in the industry is very limited."

Despite what the industry has been like historically, Counts said opportunity still exists for the next generation.

The U.S. Census Bureau reports that, on a national level, approximately 1.2 million women are employed in construction, with the majority filling office or administrative positions. This is in contrast to the nearly 10 million men who are also employed within the same industry.

(U.S. Census Bureau of Labor Statistics )

"We have a large portion of women who work for us in the demo and construction department, and I make sure that it's a safe zone for them," Counts said. "You're able to get those projects that you might not have normally gotten out in the public's and private sector."

The department has also spoken to young kids in schools, and has created programs that target the youth and educate them about the demolition and construction industry.

"We got 30 vacancies that we have to fill," Counts said. "We do have trade positions which are kind of our hardest to fill right now – so we're looking for plumbers, plumbers apprentices, we're looking for HVAC."

For more information on available jobs, and Detroit Demo Week, click here.