What’s better than a summer filled with water, sports, food and games?
On Wednesday, May 29, Boys & Girls Clubs of Southeastern Michigan (BGCSM) hosted its first ever Employ Detroit Youth job fair at the Dick & Sandy Dauch Campus.
Over a dozen companies were represented and out of the 219 youth in attendance, almost 40 youth were presented with on-the-spot job offers. The company lineup included Alternative for Girls, BGCSM, City Year, Code313, Detroit Police Department, Emagine Entertainment, Michaels, Michigan Works, Mosaic Detroit, Planet Fitness, the US Census, and Youth Energy Squad.
This was far from a traditional career fair. Unique, youth-focused opportunities were provided along with the fun games, treats, and a live DJ.
Instead of introducing youth to the traditional corporate environment of a job fair, the experience was decidedly comforting and professional for the young attendees.
Jermira, a Club member who participated in BGCSM’s Career Launch program, tributes his readiness for the job fair to Boys & Girls Club programming that provided the tools and experience needed to succeed in a job search.
“We have a career prep class, which is how we got to come here,” she says. “Most kids don’t have that because they don’t have the [resources] to help them prepare with resumes, cover letters, and teaching them how to make connections. Not everyone has that and I feel really lucky.”
DTE Energy made an impact and hired one of BGCSM’s Club members for their summer program. The 8-week-long training and position will pay $12 an hour. After discovering the Club member did not have reliable transportation, DTE Energy decided to provide transportation to and from the job site!
“DTE is actively supporting the Cody neighborhood and when we heard about the event we wanted to participate,” says Tracy DiSanto, DTE’s manager for workforce planning and development.
“We were looking for talented individuals to join our summer youth internship program and the timing was perfect,” she says. “We are happy to say we hired 8 individuals and they just started in our program this past week.”
“One of the things that’s most important to me about the BGCSM job fair is having the youth here,” says Cortez who attended in search of a summer job. “It’s the first footstep towards independence and [letting them] get their own job and making their own money.”
Kandice, a BGCSM Club member, says that the career fair experience taught her a lot about communication.
“I, personally, am not an extrovert. It’s so nerve-wracking,” she says. “I think if I were to take summer jobs and get to talk to kids, it would help me with my communications skills and help with my self-empowerment.”
City Year was one of the employers on site conducting interviews. As Club members approached the table dressed to impress, Brea Liggons was there seeking top talent for summer jobs.
“I like to listen to people and then see how City Year fits into what they want to do,” Liggons says. “Sometimes, with events like this, you might have people who are interested…there are people on my list right in front of me who are sure and are at a position in their life where they’re ready for something like this.”
Xenith, a hands-on Career Pathways partner with BGCSM, was also onboard at the recruitment event.
Janie Sre, Director of Xenith People (Human Resources), shared the importance of recruiting Detroit-based youth.
“Xenith is committed to using football as a force for good in the community. Detroit represents the best of who we design for and who inspires us, and being able to draw talent from our hometown is such an important part of our mission.”
Not every experience at the career fair was a new one. Planet Fitness is a BGCSM partner and sent Samantha Markey to our job fair to help recruit youth for summer employment.
“We’ve built a lot of judgement-free zones inside some of the Boys & Girls Club locations,” Markey says. “Every time we have our hands on extra equipment, we’re always donating it to the Boys & Girls Club.”
Bartel Welch of Code313 was on hand looking for assistants for their summer program. The part-time work would take place right at the Dauch Club.
“I knew I would find some exciting kids that know the Club, [have] been through the Club and understand the system,” Welch says. “I was really excited about that.”
Overall, the fair was an opportunity for our youth to take a step further into the world they will inherit from us.
Adam Williams says the opportunity showed his son what it is like to look for a job. “I just wanted him to figure out what he wants to do and see what direction he wants to take in his life.”
The Detroit Police Department was on hand, too. Not to keep order, but to offer themselves as potential summer employers.
“DPD is here because we heard about the fair and we wanted to help some of the youth in the community,” says officer Elpidio Sunceh. “One thing we’re definitely trying to do at the DPD is hire within the community. If you want to make a difference, why not make it within your own community?”
Emagine Entertainment’s Sarah Blue engaged with 100 applicants between her table and online application for the day.
“One of our initiatives for 2019 is diversity and inclusion,” says Blue. “Giving back to the community and meeting people that you wouldn’t normally meet I think this is a great event to meet [job] candidates.”
How does the Employ Detroit Youth Fair impact the city of Detroit?
Youth employment is critical for the city’s economy and it helps to bridge the opportunity gap. According to a researched article published in The Atlantic, “Youth unemployment racks up significant long-term costs for the economy: one-third of American companies report current job openings for which they can’t find qualified workers.”
Events like the Employ Detroit Youth Fair help to address this issue head on.
Check out more photos from the Employ Detroit Youth Job Fair on Flickr.
Boys & Girls Clubs of Southeastern Michigan is proud to offer world-class spaces, offering experiences to empower both youth and adults. Learn more about our new Adult Memberships today!