SummerWorks, an annual professional development and employment program for Washtenaw County youth, has opened applications for summer 2021. The program provides young adults ages 16 to 24 with work experience and exposure to a variety of career paths. Applications are now open through March 19.
SummerWorks is a partnership between the Washtenaw County Office of Community and Economic Development, Michigan Works! Southeast, and the University of Michigan. In past summers, the program's primary focus has been placing young people in summer jobs with local employers. Since the COVID-19 pandemic, SummerWorks has offered young participants professional development, connections with mentors, and opportunities to learn from guest speakers about career paths in a variety of industries.
At least 50 of this summer's participants will be placed in either virtual or COVID-safe jobs as SummerWorks tries to match the participants with their job preferences.
“You can make relationships and connections long after the program is over,” says Jordan Greene, project manager, University of Michigan Poverty Solutions.
Local businesses and nonprofits are encouraged to participate in the program by participating in the mentorship program, hiring a summer intern, or providing a guest speaker. This year SummerWorks has expanded its virtual offerings to include workshops on code switching and other diversity topics.
SummerWorks prepares young adults for careers that may not be accessible outside of the program.
“We have placed people in finance, marketing, and autonomous vehicle sites where they can learn valuable skills,” Greene says. "By connecting young people in our community to resources for professional development, career exploration, and mentorship, they're better prepared to find long-term employment after the program ends and take the next steps towards their future careers."
For more information, including key dates and how to apply, visit SummerWork.info.
For more Concentrate coverage of our community's response to the COVID-19 crisis, click here.
Monica Hickson is a freelance writer based in Ypsilanti.
Photo courtesy of Jordan Greene.