Starting from an applicant pool of more than 900, the Challenge Detroit competition has chosen 30 of “tomorrow’s leaders” to live and work in the city for a year.
“These 30 participants will make a mark on our community and will be great representatives of Detroit,” said Deirdre Greene Groves, executive director of Challenge Detroit. “This upcoming year promises to be full of excitement — a new job, new friends, for some a new city and the chance to have a lasting impact in Detroit and throughout the region.”
The participants, 17 women and 13 men, will begin the program in August. They will work 32-hour weeks at their host company and spend the fifth weekday doing community service projects and similar activities around the city.
“I think Challenge Detroit could be that connector that brings together all of the little positive things that are going on in the city,” said Challenge Detroit participant Caroline Dobbins, a recent graduate of Albion College who will begin work at Hired My Way LLC, which runs the Detroit-based job site hiredmyway.com.
Dobbins and her peers will work with nonprofits such as TechTown, the Detroit Regional News Hub and United Way for Southeastern Michigan on initiatives that involve social entrepreneurship, food distribution, regional planning and education.
Click here to see the 30 participants.
More than 30 Detroit-area employers are providing jobs and health benefits for the participants. Companies include Quicken Loans Inc., Valassis Communications Inc., Compuware Corp., Team Detroit and DTE Energy Co.
The selection process began early this year, when 100 contenders were selected to participate in a communitywide vote on Facebook. More than 15,000 votes whittled the 100 down to 60, who were invited in May to interview with the participating companies and the Challenge Detroit board and speak with young community leaders in the city.
Those chosen will be paid a $30,000 salary to work at partnering Detroit-area companies and will live in the Union at Midtown, an apartment complex at Warren and Cass avenues near the Wayne State University campus that will open in August.
Nineteen of the participants were from Michigan and the rest from all over the U.S., including Arizona, Virginia and North Carolina.
The Collaborative Group, a nonprofit in Birmingham, launched Challenge Detroit in January. Applications came from throughout the U.S. as well as a few from outside the country.
Southfield-based Credit Acceptance Corp. provided a $500,000, two-year grant to fund the contest’s programming and operations, including rental subsidies for the 30 participants.
By: Meghana Keshavan, Crain’s Detroit Business