A summer job helps your teen earn cash, along with gaining team-building and leadership experience.

Summer Youth Employment Programs for Teens in Detroit

by Darlene Peer

With the collapse of the car industry and the national mortgage crisis in 2008-09, Detroit's unemployment rates rose dramatically. According to a report from the Measure of America, a Social Science Research Council Project, Detroit's youth unemployment rate was as high as 30 percent in early 2013. The city does have programs designed to help teens find summer work so they can gain real work experience.

1. City of Detroit Youth Program

People ages 14 to 21 might be eligible to work for the city of Detroit's Youth Program. The program helps kids who have a barrier to employment, such as being homeless, trouble with basic literacy, being pregnant or a parent, or having a criminal record. The six-week program offers youth the opportunity to gain experience for their resume while working 30 hours a week, July through August. In the summer of 2013, the program placed 1,745 teens.

2. DTE Energy Foundation Youth Employment Initiave

The DTE Energy Foundation funds a six-week job placement program for Detroit teens, and year-round part-time positions. The corporation is working with 50 partner companies in the community to create 500 positions. Grants have been given to local agencies that serve kids and teens, including Grow Detroit's Young Talent campaign. Jobs are provided both in the city itself and in some its economically distressed suburbs, including Ypsilanti, Muskegon and Pontiac. Starting in the summer of 2013, the DTE Energy Foundation has donated money to keep the initiative going through 2016.

3. Grow Detroit's Young Talent Campaign

For people ages 14 to 24, applying for the waiting list for Grow Detroit's Young Talent Campaign might be the key to a summer job. The GDYT doesn't hire or place applicants directly, instead your child might be contacted by one of GDYT's partners. After submitting her contact information, your teen can contact any youth-focused nonprofit organizations in your neighborhood to see whether they are participating in the program. GDYT advises contacting organizations in February to ensure that your child will fulfill any application processes and will be on their waiting list for summer job openings. According to GDYT, the program planned to place at least 1,400 teens in 2013. The GDYT program also raises money to help subsidize the wages of young workers. The waiting list usually closes in early May, so remind your teen to apply early.

4. Green Summer Jobs

Four organizations -- the Greening of Detroit, the Student Conservation Association, Johnson Controls Inc. and JPMorgan Chase & Co., have put together a program to hire at least 169 high school students. This outdoor job will take your teen outside to work in neighborhood parks and green spaces, along with on conservation projects. If your child is interested in this program, it's important to apply early because it limits applications to 300. Applicants have to be between the ages of 15 and 18, a student in Detroit, have at least a C-minus average and have a letter of recommendation from a teacher, coach, principal, counselor or previous employer.

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