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Report: Detroit workers want to be valued, offered chances for advancement

Glen Jones - stock.adobe.com

A new report from the University of Michigan’s School of Social Work says that employees want to be paid a living wage and be offered opportunities for advancement.

Fatima Salman co-authored the report with Sonia Harb and Ebony Reddock. The authors held thirteen focus groups with 65 residents.

"These are all things that are almost common sense. But sometimes you just have to say it right, like just like any other worker. Like that's what workers want. They want to be they want to feel that they are appreciated. They're valued with their time, that their concerns are met with with, you know, with equal concern, that's what workers want," Salman said.

Salman and the authors talked with single mothers, returning citizens and people experiencing homelessness to find out what barriers to employment they have.

"Workers want good jobs, right? But they don't want just good jobs. They themselves also want advance in their jobs. They want to have social impact. So many people talked about wanting to love their job and being happy with what they're doing and also aligning it with their own passions," Salman said.

The report recommended that employers offer mental health services and child care options to help support their employees.

"Let's say a worker had an issue with attendance or they were facing a challenge getting to work on time," said co-author Sonia Harb. "It was important for them that the employer understood their unique issue and what was standing in their way. Even a small amount of understanding or care or acknowledgment on behalf of the employer made a huge difference for the level of commitment and dedication that worker had to that employer."

The report recommended expanding Michigan's child care system including reductions in cost, tailored services for reentering citizens including record expungement when applicable and more youth training that provides career pathways for young people.

Briana Rice is Michigan Public's criminal justice reporter. She's focused on what Detroiters need to feel safe and whether they're getting it.