Defenders: Where are the jobs in Detroit's neighborhoods?


DETROIT – In Detroit's poorest neighborhoods, too many people are hanging out instead of going to work.

Many have given up hope that they can get a good job.

"Look at how many liquor stores we got in Detroit as opposed to another city. We got liquor stores on damn near every other corner. Liquor stores, gas stations, restaurants -- greasy, nasty restaurants. Coney Islands," said Christian Mathias.

Mathias is a rapper who goes by the name Trick-Trick. He's big in the music industry and bigger on helping Detroit bounce back. He says fast food and gas stations don't provide the number of jobs or type of jobs that will end the cycle of poverty and all the liquor stores add fuel to the cycle of violence.

"They light these liquor stores up like casinos in the middle of every three-block radius. What you think was going to happen?" said Mathias.

He is not knocking Detroit. He's putting out a call to action.

City officials say help is out here. Last year, programs like Detroit Employment Solutions (DES) placed 13,000 people who were out of work.

"Some people may have lost hope, but I want them to know there are opportunities now inside the city of Detroit," said Pamela Moore, CEO of DES. "We are working with many of our employer partners, and there are jobs."

Service centers are on bus service lines in each section of the city. There is a section on Detroit's city website (www.detroitmi.gov/Detroit-Opportunities) with job openings, training programs and internships. They realize many Detroiters are not job-ready so there is help with resume writing, education, addiction and transportation. The challenge: getting those who need help connected to those who can help.

Dr. Gerald Schriner, a psychiatrist, says city programs are imperative because a little hope goes a long way and hopelessness is disaster.

"Not having much of an opportunity to make things better, not having much of a way out. That's really where the tragedy is and that makes people desperate," he said.

A huge problem is transportation because the jobs are not in the neighborhoods. The people have to go where the jobs are. Buses have been unreliable, but the city says it is getting better. They also are working with employers to come pick up workers in the neighborhood. There is a lot of work still to do, but they tell us progress is being made.