Detroit’s Mayor’s Workforce Development Board has set a near term target of helping create a system that increases residential employment by 40,000.

The Mayor’s Workforce Development Board and Detroit Employment Solutions Corporation engaged Accenture, Corporation for a Skilled Workforce, and University of Michigan Poverty Solutions to help inform and develop strategies to improve and redesign Detroit’s current workforce system.

Stakeholder engagement activities included eleven focus groups with 118 participants including jobseekers, employers and stakeholders.  An additional five stakeholder sessions were held with 109 workforce and community based organizations. Several stakeholder themes emerged:

  • Make it easy – eliminate redundancies and guide customers through steps
  • Outcomes over incentives – better align incentives, accountability and processes to outcomes
  • Focus on your sweet spot – each stakeholder should focus on what they do best and partner to fill gaps
  • Meet them where they are – bring services to people
  • Leverage the ecosystem - build on and scale successful collaboration
  • Invest in technology - increase access to services and automate flow if information

The Board is advancing a number of  programs and initiatives across three strategy areas: systems change, expansion of training and career pathway, and barrier elimination. Each is strategically designed to provide support for a specific target population or growing industry in the City of Detroit.

Systems Change

  • Connecting Detroiters to opportunity via the Detroit at Work platform that helps jobseekers learn about the training and jobs available in the city and helps employers find the talent they need to help their business grow.
  • Expanding Supplemntal Nutritition Assistance Program (SNAP) employment and training because the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) provides a 50% match for the cost of skills and occupational training, adult foundational education, work experience or support services that will lead to new or better employment for SNAP participants.

Trainings & Career Pathways

  • Modernizing career and technical education through partnerships with public schools and training centers.
  • Investing in employer-led training programs like the Patient Care Associate training that is a collaboration of the three biggest healthcare systems in Detroit.
  • Expanding youth related employment and training programs through Grow Detroit’s Young Talent (GDYT); a citywide summer jobs program.

Barrier Elimination

  • Expanding returning citizens & expungement inititiaves by working to reduce systemic barriers, provide support in prison, align community resources, and develop job opportunities.
  • Advocating for policy changes to help Detoiters succeed by making the path to a driver’s license less of a financial burden.

Source: Detroit’s Mayor’s Workforce Development Board

More information: