When Dominick Williams looks back on his summer job from last year, he doesn’t think of the early mornings or the challenging work.

Instead, he thinks of the fun.

“It was unexpected how much fun I’d actually have,” the 19-year-old said of his summer job with DTE Energy. “I honestly underestimated it because I heard skilled trades is nothing but hard work.

“But, I actually loved talking with the men and women who worked there, hearing their input on their experiences — and learning,” he said.

Williams worked at DTE last summer in a program inspired by Grow Detroit’s Young Talent (GDYT). In the program, DTE hired 59 Detroit students to work in skilled trade and office/professional positions at the company.

Detroit’s youth get another chance at a fulfilling summer job with the Wednesday announcement from Mayor Mike Duggan that the start of the application period for GDYT 2018 is underway.

This summer, more than 8,000 Detroit youth — ages 14 to 24 — will work in meaningful summer jobs across the city.

“Over the past few years, the business, philanthropic and government communities have worked together to send an important message to our youths that we are committed to helping prepare them for their futures,” said Mayor Duggan. “We are continuing that tradition this year and improving the program to provide many GDYT participants the opportunity for training beyond the six weeks of the program.”

The improvement is the addition of career specialists, who will work with 400 of the students and schools to provide career-specific and year-round instruction.

Gerry Anderson, DTE’s chairman and CEO, said his company has been a strong supporter of GDYT for years. Since 2010, the DTE Energy Foundation has donated $4.6 million to the program, supporting more than 2,500 jobs for young Detroiters. This year, the company will donate more than $800,000 to programs to fund more than 650 jobs across the state.

Anderson said the importance of summer jobs to today’s youth is very important to ensuring they are prepared to take advantage of opportunities presented by Detroit’s construction boom.

“We’re committed to ensure our youth are prepared to build a future for themselves and Detroit by offering meaningful work experiences,” said Gerry Anderson, chairman and CEO, DTE Energy. “If we are going to broaden participation in the exciting recovery we have underway in Detroit, we need every business to say, ‘I’m in – I’ll do my part to help build opportunity for the young in our city.’”

In all, DTE provides jobs for about 850 college and high school students through internships, co-ops and other programs. Part of that is the expansion of the program that Williams took part in, increasing the number of employees from 59 to 80.

For Williams, his summer internship opened opportunities he didn’t know were possible before. He said he’s looking at getting a degree in graphic design or illustration. Still, he said, working in skilled trades at DTE Energy is an option he is likely to pursue.

“Graphic design might be a good side hustle for me when I’m working for DTE,” he said.

How to get involved

Starting today, Detroit youth interested in a summer job should apply at www.GDYT.org.  Businesses interested in becoming a sponsor or providing summer work experiences for Detroit youth may register at the GDYT Web site also.