Grow Detroit’s Young Talent (GDYT) is the citywide summer jobs program for youth between the ages of 14 and 24. Workforce participation at an early age has developmental and academic benefits, and improves labor market outcomes later in life. However, these opportunities vary greatly and are not equally accessible. Programs like GDYT offer youth the advantages of employment without sacrificing time from school, or impinging on other responsibilities.
The Center for Equitable Family and Community Well-Being provides evaluation services to GDYT partners, and Director Shanks chairs the Data Research & Evaluation Subcommittee of the Detroit Youth Employment Consortium. In collaboration with Connect Detroit, the Center has collected more than 12,000 annual GDYT youth exit surveys since 2009. These surveys form the bases for annual GDYT reports.
The Saving for Education, Entrepreneurship, and Downpayment (SEED) project was a national initiative to introduce and test the effectiveness of child savings accounts (CSA). By focusing on childhood, SEED hoped to demonstrate that given the opportunity, mechanism and encouragement to save, low-income families could provide a valuable nest egg to youth when they finish high school.
MI-SEED was launched in 2004 through the Oakland Livingston Health Services Agency (OLHSA) at 14 Head Start centers across both counties. Roughly 500 families received CSAs along with an initial $800 deposit. Eligible families also received a $200 match deposit. All subsequent deposits were matched 1-1 up to $1,200. As of September 2019, participants had saved more than $934,000, with an average balance of more than $2,000.
The Center for Equitable Family and Community Well-Being receives data from the Michigan Economic Development Corporation to monitor the progress of MI-SEED participants, with particular attention to college and post-secondary enrollment.
Poverty Solutions at the University of Michigan awarded the Center for Equitable Family and Community Well-Being one of six Strategic Partnerships to Improve Economic Mobility grants. This $25,000 award is a collaboration with Easter Michigan University’s Family Empowerment Program and the Washtenaw County Racial Equity Office to measure the impact of COVID-19 on low-income, African American residents of Ypsilanti, Michigan.
Presently, low-income and African American communities bear disproportionate risk in the COVID-19 pandemic. This study aims to measure the needs of these often overlooked populations so public health and economic responses are attentive to issues of equity in the larger community.
Residents will be asked about their experiences with COVID-19, including symptoms and testing, its impact on their living arrangements and employment, the transition to virtual learning for their children, and more. The survey instrument was based, in part, on the Detroit Metro Area Communities Study COVID-19 Rapid Response, with additional questions supplied by community members and stakeholders.
University of Michigan
School of Social Work
1080 South University Avenue
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1106