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Duggan's pitch to companies: Change a Detroit teen's life with a summer job

Helping Detroit teens get summer jobs could change their lives forever, and benefit whole communities.

That was Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan’s pitch for his new “TeenWork Initiative” at the Mackinac Island Policy Conference.

Duggan said too many Detroit teens feel like they’ve been “discarded” by society and the economy.

But he thinks that could change if they heard a different message.

“How powerful would it be if hundreds of companies came together and said, ‘We believe in you; we believe in your potential?” Duggan said.

To that end, Duggan said he wants to launch the TeenWork program to connect Detroit teens with summer jobs in 2015.

With the help of some city agencies, local foundations and federal funds, the initiative aims to put 5000 city youths in various jobs.

He put out the call for Metro Detroit businesses to join up, promising that the program will compensate for half the costs.

Duggan said he saw the transformative power of a similar program for students when he ran the Detroit Medical Center. “They had an experience that opened their eyes to a career path they wouldn’t have thought of,” he said.

Sarah Cwiek joined Michigan Public in October 2009. As our Detroit reporter, she is helping us expand our coverage of the economy, politics, and culture in and around the city of Detroit.
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