Southfield (CW50) – There are a lot of different strategies and methods to growing the workforce of a city and Detroit has struggled to grow a workforce, whether it’s through opportunities, job-training, or transportation. Detroit has the talent and people with the skills to grow the workforce, but one of the biggest issues lies in its exposure to opportunities to the city’s youth.

Grow Detroit’s Young Talent is an organization focusing on addressing that issue in the city of Detroit by providing exposure to opportunities in high demand industries that are struggling to fill positions. Some of these industries include construction, manufacturing, I.T., and healthcare. It is Grow Detroit’s Young Talent’s mission to ensure that more than 8,000 of Detroit’s youth are exposed to opportunities in these fields each summer.

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Community Connect Host Jackie Paige, with Marie Hocker, Executive Director of Grow Detroit’s Young Talent

Marie Hocker, Executive Director of Grow Detroit’s Young Talent, joins Jackie Paige on Community Connect to give an overview of the programs that they offer and how they’ve benefited both Detroit’s youth through workforce opportunities and Detroit businesses looking for young talent.

The organization serves youth between the ages of 14 and 24 that live in the city of Detroit through a six-week summer program which places them into positions that have the potential to set them on a career path, even providing what could be their first job experience. These opportunities provide Detroit’s youth with hands-on experiences, some of which lead to permanent positions at the companies they are paired with.

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2019 Grow Detroit’s Young Talent summer program (Courtesy of GDYT)

Hocker also discussed what it means to her personally to help young people in Detroit find a career path, as she got her start as an intern at Ford Motor Company leading to a 10-year career with the company. Now, Hocker finds joy in affording the same opportunities she had to Detroit’s youth.

“I certainly understand the value that early exposure can have in a young person’s life and I get to pay that forward.”

Detroit residents between the ages of 14 and 24 can apply for the summer program and Employer Partners can get involved by May 1st at

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Watch COMMUNITY CONNECT, Saturday at  7am on CW50