“We’re giving young Detroiters the kind of opportunities they expect,” said Mayor Mike Duggan.

That was the resounding message at the 2019 Grow Detroit’s Young Talent (GDYT) kick-off press conference at DTE headquarters last week. Key leaders of the program, the City of Detroit and DTE gathered to celebrate the start of the program’s fifth year.

“I’ve talked to too many Detroiters who grew up in the city and their goal was to leave Detroit,” said Mayor Duggan. “We need to create a situation where they’re saying, ‘My goal is to stay and make it better’ and GDYT is a big step in showing our young people that they’re valued.”

Launched in 2015, GDYT is a citywide summer youth employment program that prepares young adults – ages 14-24 – for future career success. Last year, the program employed 8,210 students and they’re expecting to exceed that number this year.

“My experiences with GDYT have been life changing,” said Tyrone Bean, a GDYT graduate and current student at Henry Ford College. “GDYT gave me the opportunity to make money, while also learning life skills that will help me succeed in the future.”

Tyrone is a perfect example of the positive outcomes that can occur from going through the program. He even shared a story of him using the skills he learned in real-time.

“We were learning about budgeting and my new $200 shoes looked up at me like ‘I know you still have the receipt’ and that same day I took them back and started saving for more important things,” Bean said. “I ended up saving for a new iMac which I still use and get revenue for my graphic design and YouTube channel.”

DTE has been an active sponsor since the program began. In 2018, the DTE Foundation sponsored 400 GDYT students including 100 working at various DTE company locations in skilled trades and office roles.

“This is an opportunity to change the life of each and every student by providing exposure to work skills, technical skills, and just as important getting them exposure to mentors and role models,” said Dave Meador, vice chairman and chief administration officer, DTE Energy. “Our employees tell us all the time, programs like this are just as important to them as the students.”

Companies can become an Employer Partner by sponsoring a six-week paid work experience. All sponsorships by individuals, businesses and community supporters will be matched dollar-for-dollar up to $150,000 by The Marjorie S. Fisher Fund. Donate here.