Jamal Curry has been interested in electricity and engineering for as long as he can remember. He spent his childhood building robots out of cardboard until he eventually joined his high school robotics team where he realized what types of careers his interests could lead to.

When DTE Energy visited his school last year, he missed out on an opportunity to get hired. Curry made it his mission to have a different result this year.

“For me, I’ve been wanting to work for DTE since I was little,” said Curry, student from Cody – Detroit Institute of Technology High School. “That was one of my goals for this year so being able to come here, get interviewed and get hired, feels really good.”

This was possible because of the Grow Detroit’s Young Talent (GDYT) Career Connections Fair presented by United Way and the Detroit Employment Solutions Corporation on May 11 at Ford Field. At the fair, 800 students had the opportunity to meet with companies, get hands-on experience with skilled trades professions, interview for potential careers and get hired on the spot.

New this year was the DTE Energy Skilled Trades Experience, where 13 DTE suppliers and six DTE skilled trades organizations displayed exhibits on the middle of the field. These exhibits offered hands-on activities including virtual reality simulations, brick laying, electric wiring, etc., all designed to give students a taste of skilled trades work.

“We collaborated with our suppliers and DTE skilled trades to create a unique and exciting experience,” said Karin Cozzi, Sr. Supply Chain Manager. “Letting students do hands on work and learn from our skilled trades professionals – then seeing the surprised look on their faces when they realized these were careers where they could thrive – that was special. The event reinforced the positive impact of DTE’s involvement in the community and the rol

e that each of us can play to make a difference.”

“It’s important for DTE to educate the next generation of workforce on opportunities for careers in skilled trades within energy and construction sectors,” said Deborah Majeski, manager Center of Excellent, HR Workforce Development.

Curry wasn’t the only student to have a positive experience. DTE hired five students from the career fair and hundreds of others left with similar outcomes with other companies. They came to the event with a purpose; to get hired and set themselves up for future success.

“The career fair was very exciting and helpful,” said Nala Barlow, student from Cody – Detroit Institute of Technology High School. “I definitely got more out of it then I expected and am looking forward to developing more skills that will help me in my future career and later in life.”

“I’m very impressed with the students and how they have really well-defined career goals,” said Brianna Zellars, one of more than 125 DTE volunteers at the event. “These students are set on

careers; they’re focused and they’re determined to be a productive contributor to a better future (for Detroit).”

DTE has been an active participant in GDYT for the past several years through direct hires and foundation support. Our company recognizes how meaningful these types of events are to continue to build a pipeline for future talent.

The students understand the importance too.

“There are a lot of kids my age that want to work, but they don’t really know how to fill out an application or get themselves ready for an interview, so to come here and be able to do it right away, it prepares you to get a job,” Curry said.