The University of Michigan is seeking temporary, seasonal positions in units across campus for the Washtenaw County Summer Youth Employment Program that pairs faculty and staff with youths to help them gain work experience, mentorship and life skills training.
As part of the program, known as SummerWorks, participating departments provide paid, temporary employment and mentorship for youth in a part-time capacity for 10 weeks over the summer. Summer Youth Employment Program staff provide additional wrap-around supports to ensure a successful experience.
Departments interested in hiring youths for the summer are invited to hear from U-M units that employed a young person last summer, learn more about logistical details and what to expect at information sessions scheduled for:
- Feb. 7, 8:30-10 a.m., Wolverine Tower, Room 10004.
- Feb. 21, 8:30-10 a.m., Palmer Commons, Great Lakes South Room.
- March 6, 8:30-10 a.m., Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy, Conference Room 1110.
Community partners Michigan Works! Southeast and the Washtenaw County Office of Community and Economic Development launched the program in summer 2016.
In 2017, the university — through Poverty Solutions, the Ginsberg Center, Youth Policy Lab and U-M Human Resources — partnered to offer job placements at U-M and double the number of opportunities to young people from across the county.
Other organizations have since joined the partnership, including the Washtenaw Alliance for Children and Youth, and Michigan Rehabilitation Services.
Since its inception, more than 250 youths have participated in the program, including nearly 150 in positions on U-M’s campus.
“As an employer, U-M departments will help provide important work and mentorship experiences for young people as they build their professional networks and leadership skills,” said Jordan Greene, Summer Youth Employment Program project manager.
Last summer, 52 participants were placed in jobs across the university and 46 participants were placed with other employers across the county. This year, organizers aim to again double the number of opportunities for young people.
“Our surveys showed that almost all of 2019’s youth participants felt that the program met or exceeded their expectations,” Greene said. “Many said the mentorship, networking and meaningful connections at U-M were the most valuable parts of their experience.”
For supervisors, working with youth participants also proved to be a valuable experience. Jessica Faul, an associate research scientist in the Survey Research Center of the Institute for Social Research, first employed a youth as a lab technician assistant in 2017.
“Some of our youth have gone on to college and have received scholarships or found employment based on the skills and experiences they had with our group,” she said. “To me, that is what this program is all about — not just providing a summer job, but helping launch these youth on paths to a bright future. We are proud of our youth and honored to be part of this program.”