2018 Champion City

Detroit, MI : 2018 Champion City

In-school Academy to Help Youth Stay on Track

  • 672,795

  • Mike Duggan

  • Directly Elected Mayor

    Type of Government
  • 4 years

    Length of Term
  • Youth

    Issue Area

The Problem

Of the nation’s largest school districts, Detroit has the highest rate of chronic absenteeism with 50% of public school students regularly missing class, which, in turn, leads to high rates of long-term unemployment and poverty.

The Idea

The City of Detroit will certify Detroit youth with work-readiness credentials through a school-based “academy” that provides a combination of wrap-around support services and absenteeism interventions.

What Mike Duggan, Mayor of Detroit, MI is saying:

Our success as a city depends on making sure all of our residents have the opportunity to participate in Detroit's recovery.


Our Prototyping Journey

    Let's Go

  • Detroit will test the efficacy of their youth job-training program by teaching the curriculum and gathering student feedback, as well as seeing if subsidized transportation increases student participation. The city is collecting feedback at high schools through existing programs.

    Over 8,000 #Detroit youth will be employed this summer through #GDYT. A handful of students from Western International High School got to do mock interviews with @CityofDetroit employees to get prepared for what’s to come. #MayorsChallenge #GDYTGrind

    12:50 PM - 20 Apr 2018   MayorMikeDuggan  
  • Ideas into action

  • What we’re discovering through testing

    Using hiring managers from local companies, the Detroit team ran mock interviews with students, to evaluate the skills they had learned from the program. The test was a great success—some employers were so impressed that they offered students jobs on the spot! The team learned that employers need just as much support. The employers involved are even thinking about how to revive and shift their internship programs - now that their eyes have been opened to the skills students have.

    It isn't just whether students can make eye contact in an interview–you have to help them know how to react to the barriers that block their success.

    Leader of Detroit Job Program

    As part of this project, the team has embedded career specialists into some of the schools. Going beyond the issues of transportation and clothing, they are gaining in-depth insights about the barriers that stop children from progressing into careers; such as their mental health awareness, or the impact of previous trauma.

    Today #GDYT students interviewed with employers through the Career Acadamy Program. The program seeks to address work readiness and employability skills training amongst Detroit’s high school students. @BloombergDotOrg #GDYTGrind #MayorsChallenge

    5:51 PM - 13 Jun 2018   MayorMikeDuggan  
  • Reflections

  • What we've learned

    Through testing, the Detroit team learned more about the experiences of youth dealing with difficult sitations at home, and the impact of this on their ability to gain employment. Career specialists shared that students demonstrated emotional distress when they felt threatened, ashamed, or embarrassed - directly impacting their success at work. This has led the team to the realization that a behavioral health component should be deeply integrated into the program.

    We realized there was no way we were just going to focus on technical skills and expect students to be ready for the opportunities emerging in Detroit

    Nicole Sherard Freeman, CEO, Detroit Employment Solutions Corp.

    This past Friday, Grow Detroit's Young Talent hosted a behavioral health training for 1,000+ students, making it the only youth workforce program in the country to incorporate behavioral health in such a pronounced way. #mayorschallenge #detroit

    4:07 PM - 13 Aug 2018   abouchakra