Labor and Economic Opportunity
New $2 million investment will provide a meaningful workforce introduction to under-represented young adults
Thursday, June 25, 2020
CONTACT: Mike Murray, 517-275-1820
LANSING, Mich.— Young people throughout the state will have the opportunity to participate in Michigan’s 2020 Summer Young Professionals employment experience, preparation, and exploration program – a new initiative that provides a meaningful, individualized introduction to the world of work to under-represented young adults.
The Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity (LEO) announced Michigan Works! Agencies (MWAs) will manage and execute the program statewide with an investment of $2 million.
The Summer Young Professionals program is designed to reduce youth unemployment and place young adults, ages 14-24, on the right path to gain the skills necessary to achieve lifelong economic self-sufficiency. Young adults will be supported with stipends for career exploration and preparation or wages earned for participation in work experiences.
“We recognize that engagement, or lack thereof, in educational activities is a critical factor why many young adults are not participating in the labor market,” said Stephanie Beckhorn, LEO's Deputy Director of Employment and Training. “This initiative provides young adults with a pathway toward multiple career and educational opportunities such as entering a Registered Apprenticeship program, earning an associate or bachelor’s degree and obtaining sustainable employment.”
The Michigan Works! Agencies, which were selected through a Request for Proposal process that concluded in January 2020, received awards of up to $250,000 in Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act Statewide Activities funding to support the development and/or enhancement of a Summer Young Professionals employment program.
“Our Michigan Works! partners will use virtual resources to meet young adults where they are for participation in the Summer Young Professionals program,” said Beckhorn. “Their creative, proactive approach has positioned the MWAs to focus on building Michigan’s talent pipeline to meet the critical needs of our state’s employers when it is safe to return to the workplace.”
Michigan Works! Agencies provide career preparation, employment opportunities and supportive services at American Job Centers throughout the state. These organizations play a crucial role in the recruitment of employers, with a focus on regionally in-demand industries such as construction, healthcare, information technology and manufacturing.
“Michigan Works! knows these work experiences can be life-changing for the youth,” said Greg Pitoniak, CEO of Southeast Michigan Community Alliance Michigan Works! “They learn so much, especially about career pathways they did not even know existed. Employers see it as an opportunity to connect to their future talent pipeline. Michigan Works! applauds LEO for providing this funding to expand these opportunities.”
The Summer Young Professionals program places an emphasis on career exploration which will inform participants about educational requirements for their preferred career pathways. This aligns with state’s Sixty by 30 initiative to help 60% of Michiganders achieve a postsecondary attainment by the year 2030 – ultimately putting them on a path to a good job, whether that be through a community college degree, a four-year degree or a path in the skilled trades.
More information about the program is available through any of the state’s Michigan Works! Agencies. To contact the nearest Michigan Works! Service Center, call 800-285-WORKS (9675) or visit MichiganWorks.org.