Grow Detroit's Young Talent community program helps put teens to work

Work study programs allow student a chance to gain real-life work experience


Sometimes giving a teenager a job can do so much more than help them earn some extra spending money.

Ruth to the Rescue is trying to put more teenagers to work, so they can gain the valuable experience they need in order to be successful. The right experience in the right job, can change someone's life.

Jose Perez is a local 16 year-old attending Cristo Rey High School in Southwest Detroit. The high school has a required work-study program.

This is all thanks to Grow Detroit's Young Talent, a campaign to match Detroit youth and local employers during the summer.

"Before, I didn't want to go to college. I used to not be the greatest kid, and now that I've came here, everything's changed. I want to go to college, I want to do something with myself, I want to be someone everybody can look up to," says Perez.

Cristo Rey's work study program allows every student the chance to gain real-life work experience in many of the finest businesses and organizations in Metro-Detroit.

Perez says that he enjoys working at Ideal Group, because the company cares about him.

"Ideal Group is always there for me when I need anything. When I need help with my homework, whenever I need advice on something, or if anything is needed, they are here for me," says Perez.

Workplace Support for Teens

Amanda Schmidke works at Ideal Group in Executive Administration & Marketing, and also oversees the interns.

"We take the kids under our wings, we're like they're second moms," says Schmidke.

Perez started working at Ideal Group during the fall of his freshman year, and was offered a special opportunity this summer.

"In the fall, they are working to pay their tuition. In the summer time, because he was such a great kid, we offered him paid summer employment  to work with us," says Schmidke.

Perez helps out in the marketing, admin, and accounting offices, as well as out in the manufacturing warehouse.

Perez says he hopes to attend college at either Michigan State University, or University of Michigan-Dearborn. The dream of going to college is very special to both Jose and his parents.

"My mom loves it. She thinks that I'm doing something, and she's proud of me because she knows I'll be the first one to go to college and that really means a lot to her, and my dad supports me 100 percent too, " says Perez.

Schmidke says that jobs like these are helping teenagers build their resumes before heading to college, which is a huge advantage.

" I feel great because there are some kids out there that aren't doing anything with their life," says Perez. "I'm here, in a big corporation, and I'm just living the life!"

If you'd like to get involved in helping more teens get jobs, visit Grow Detroit's Young Talent.

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