While the pandemic has delivered many challenges to our collective doorstep, it’s also created opportunities for companies and government to find new ways to serve – often alongside each other. A shining example is DTE Energy’s longstanding partnership with the city of Detroit through Mayor Mike Duggan’s Grow Detroit’s Young Talent (GDYT) program, a citywide summer youth employment program that prepares young adults, ages 14-24, for future career success.

DTE has been an active sponsor of GDYT since the program began in 2015, and while last year’s all-remote experience was different than prior years in many ways, it offered opportunities for 1,400 students – employed at DTE or through the company’s support of GDYT – to learn critical professional and life skills, and build relationships, that position them – and the city – to thrive. Following the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in the U.S., DTE and the city quickly acted to develop a safe, engaging experience that offered meaningful work and new opportunities to Detroit students.

“We never considered canceling the program for a moment,” said Mayor Mike Duggan. “We are always grateful to our partners but particularly so last year. Pivoting to an entirely new program at scale in only three months was a remarkable achievement and showed not only the level of commitment to our youth we have in this city, but also the strength of the partnerships we have built. Whatever the status this summer, we will still make sure that our youth have the opportunity to learn new skills and earn a wage.”

The overwhelming public-private support for Detroit’s youth was evident at the virtual press conference for the kick of off the seventh year of the Grow Detroit’s Young Talent (GDYT) summer youth employment program. The mayor was joined via Zoom call by business and community leaders, philanthropic organizations, and Detroit youth and employers. DTE Energy Vice Chairman and Chief Administrative Officer Dave Meador addressed participants and spoke to the importance of GDYT in building a healthier, more vital Detroit.

“We’re grateful for the partnership and leadership of Mayor Duggan in helping Detroit forge ahead on our mission to support local youth, especially his unwavering commitment to this program during these trying times,” said Dave Meador. “This program is vital to the success of the communities we serve, and we look forward to empowering this generation of leaders to write our city’s next great chapter.”