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Summer18 Helps Washtenaw County Youth Build Life-Long Networks & Careers

Youth employment & mentorship program pairs area youth & businesses for ten-week, on-the-job training June 18-Aug. 24

Washtenaw County, Michigan Works! Southeast and The University of Michigan have partnered for Summer18 launching June 18 (

A ten-week summer employment and mentorship program, Summer18 pairs local businesses with Washtenaw County youth (ages 16-24) to provide on-the-job training that sets the stage for life-long careers, opens doors to new industries, and provides mentorship critical to building professional networks.

Last year, the number of jobs available to youth doubled with 80 businesses employing and mentoring youth who gained meaningful work experience and income. This increase in jobs equated to 12,780+ work experience hours and $124,960+ invested in our youths’ future success. 

For Summer18, we look to double the number of opportunities for local youth. 

“Being part of Summer 17 was awesome!” said Breanna Wheeler, Summer17 youth participant. “My Summer17 job led to an internship and the internship turned into my career.”

"Summer 17 was an amazing opportunity for me to gain experience and learn more about the professional working world,” said Nolan Escobar, Summer17 youth participant. “Through Summer 17, I found an interest in a career field that I had never given much thought to."

“Summer17 opened doors in a way I could never imagine,” said Kamaria Gardner, Summer17 youth participant. “I made life-long connections and enjoyed one of the most eye opening and enriching experiences of my life.”

Summer18 serves as the critical “stepping stone” youth need to increase their marketability in today’s competitive job market. As part of Summer18, youth complete a “Soft Skills Academy” inclusive of training in communication, conflict resolution, professionalism and networking – all of which prepare Summer18 youth employees to make positive contributions to businesses.

“With this being our first year participating in the summer youth employment program; we found that working with a youth is a great opportunity for both the employer and youth” said Brandie Ekpiken, Program Coordinator at University of Michigan School of Public Health. “Our youth was well-equipped for working in a professional environment from interview to office…we look forward to continued collaboration with the program.” 

“This summer youth employment program has made a significant impact by giving young people the opportunity to learn through real life employment experience,” said Derrick Jackson, Director of Community Engagement at Washtenaw County Sheriff’s Office. “For us this is important because providing our young residents with meaningful summer activities is a creative way to bridge the divide between law enforcement and the young people we serve.”

"The Summer18 program is an example of how partnerships in our community can be successful,” said Gregory Dill, Washtenaw County Administrator. “This important program provides a win-win: our youth learn the responsibilities associated with learning life and job skills; and our local businesses benefit from the energy and fresh perspective the participants provide…together, we are helping to provide our future leaders with the tools necessary to be successful in life.”



Businesses interested in participating in Summer18 must commit to:

  • interviewing (May 23), training and orientation (April 4) sessions
  • ongoing mentoring of youth employees during the employment period (June 18-Aug. 24)
  • paying a youth employee an hourly wage of either $10/hour or $12/hour based on completion of a high school degree or equivalent (total employer cost is approximately $2,000-$2,400/youth employee based on a 20-hour work week)

To become a Summer18 Employer, signup at



Youth interested in Summer18 must commit to:

  • a multi-session “Soft Skills Academy” prior to employment start (May 8-23)
  • 10 weeks of employment beginning June 18, 2018 for a minimum of 20 hours/week at $10/hour or $12/hour based on completion of a high school degree or equivalent.

Youth applications open Feb. 8, 2018. To learn more, visit:

For questions, interested businesses and youth can contact:        

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