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“Many of our young people studied hard in school so they could get out of this city. If that happens, who rebuilds the city in the long run?” said Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan. “We want your talent back in Detroit. It is time for the next generation. My generation is not going to be here much longer. The next generation is going to decide the future of this city and we need the talent here. 

GDYT student Denzell Hairston

That was the resounding message at the 2020 Grow Detroit’s Young Talent (GDYT) kick-off press conference at DTE headquarters last week. DTE gathered with the City of Detroit and key leaders of the program to celebrate the start of this year’s program.  

“Everyone in this room who has supported GDYT, you made a lifetime impression,” said Duggan. “You are changing the trajectory of people’s lives.” 

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 over 8,000 students and the number keeps growing every year.  

“Our goal is to provide meaningful employment and to give students the tools and skills they need for a good paying job,” said vice chairman of DTE Energy, Dave Meador. “This summer program with GDYT often ends up being the first job that leads to a second job that leads to an education and then ultimately a well-paying job and a great career.” 

DTE has been an active sponsor since the program began. In 2019, DTE provided employment opportunities to 1,700 students – including 1,000 working at DTE and 700 working at other organizations sponsored by the DTE Foundation. That is a record number for our company, and we’re excited to continue that momentum into 2020. 

“Through this program I have met a lot of people and made connections I would have never otherwise met. I have learned the importance of having a good work ethic and making sure my tasks are done,” said Denzell Hairston, a four-time GDYT participant and Cass Tech student. “GDYT doesn’t just provide the experience of having a job, it teaches important skills like communications, working hard and being accountable.” 

Hairston’s story is the perfect example of the positive outcomes that can occur from going through the program.