Many programs return to help young people get jobs in Michigan

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Posted at 9:10 AM, Jun 11, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-11 09:10:57-04

(WXYZ) — If you're between the ages of 16 and 24 and looking for work, there are jobs out there.

Last summer, the COVID-19 pandemic threw a curveball for many young people trying to get into the workforce.

Most states saw a decline in teen employment rates between 2019-2020, and Michigan is one of 16 states that experienced a double-digit decline, dropping 15.8%, the third-largest in the country.

According to the 2021 Summer Job Outlook for American Teens from Drexel University, predicted teen summer employment in 2021 is expected to be 31.5%, the highest since 2008. Compare that to last year when it was at 26.3%.

Jordan Grant, 19, from Lapeer, is getting work experience that's sparking an interest in a career path.

“I’ve always wanted to be in the trades, so it was kind of just deciding which one to actually pursue," Grant said.

He started working as an electrician's apprentice a couple of weeks ago and is most excited to get fully licensed.

He got the opportunity through a Michigan Works! program called "Oakland Next" after he'd been searching for a job for months.

Grant is working for Doug Linstrom, the GM of three local contracting companies that partnered with Michigan Works!, Mister Sparky, Benjamin Franklin Plumbing and One Hour Heating and Air Conditioning.

"We’re always looking for skilled, you know, positions in plumbing, heating and cooling, and electrical. I swear we could always use at least two positions," Linstrom said.

Malik Walker, 21, from Farmington Hills, took park in Oakland Next last summer and completed a three-month certification process to become a clinical medical assistant.

He's now looking for a full-time job, but is working part-time with seniors at an assisted living facility.

The Oakland Next program just returned in May. Lisa Straske, the director of the Oakland County Michigan Works! office said it's open to people between the ages of 16-24.

"We encourage that age group to apply as soon as possible," she said.

You can apply at

“We highly recommend doing it as soon as possible. We have gotten over 100 applications in just the few weeks that we’ve been open," Straske added.

If you're an employer who'd like to offer paid work experiences, you can apply online as well here.

A similar program is offered year-round in Macomb and St. Clair counties for 18-24-year-olds at about a dozen businesses.

“We’ll have some students who will be working on some beautification and maintenance projects around the city of Mount Clemens, so we’re really excited about this new partnership," Cris Robson said.

Over the next year, about 400 young people will participate in the Macomb-St. Clair Michigan Works! Young Professionals Program. You can find more information here.

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