Grand Rapids program offers summer jobs to youths

Grand Rapids

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — The city of Grand Rapids is partnering up with local businesses and organizations to provide jobs to 1,000 young people this summer.

The GRow1000 program will offer participants $10 an hour for 20 hours each week with the opportunity to earn up to $1,500 over the course of six weeks. The program starts July 13 and goes through Aug. 21.

Participants must live in the city of Grand Rapids, be eligible to work in the U.S. and be between the ages of 15 and 21 by July 22. Youths living in the zip codes 49503, 49507, 49508 and 49509 will be prioritized, the city says, since they’ve been disproportionately affected by factors like COVID-19.

The city’s “Our Community’s Children” program is overseeing the initiative. Internally, the excitement is palpable.

“I’m absolutely thrilled and excited,” Our Community’s Children Executive Director Lynn Heemstra told News 8 Tuesday. “They (participants) get access to professional networks. They understand the range of careers that exist within industries and they get a better idea of what workplace expectations are.”

Program coordinator Shannon L. Harris said applications began pouring in soon after the announcement about the program expansion was made.

“Those applications are coming through at a steady pace — more than steady pace; at a rapid pace,” Harris said. “This is not … just a job. You get a paycheck at the end but they are also getting an opportunity to explore what gifts and talents they hold within themselves.”

Heemstra said concerns about youth amid the pandemic haven’t been lost.

“We’re going to be very careful that there are COVID precautions and protocols in place for young people,” she said.

“We are committed to ensuring that all of our young people have access to opportunities,” City Manager Mark Washington said in a statement. “This is an important opportunity for us to come together in true West Michigan fashion and respond to a critical need through a public-private partnership.”

Applications are being accepted through June 29. Required paid job training begins June 29 and will teach youths about workplace etiquette, safety and dressing for success.

The city of Grand Rapids says it’s working on transportation options.

Businesses or organizations wishing to participate are encouraged to:

  • Sponsor youth at $1,500 each so they can be placed at a job in the city.
  • Provide employment opportunities to youth and pay their stipend to the city.

Grand Rapids Public Schools and Grand Rapids Community College are working closely with GRow1000. Several other organizations are also working with the program:

  • Amway Corp.
  • Autocam Medical
  • Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan
  • Brian Harris
  • Cascade Engineering
  • City of Grand Rapids
  • Crystal Flash
  • CWD Real Estate Investment
  • DeVos Foundation
  • Feyen Zylstra
  • Grand Valley State University
  • Huntington Bank
  • JD Loeks
  • Jireh Metal Products
  • Kent County
  • Meijer
  • Metro Health
  • Mixed Staffing & Recruiting
  • OST
  • PNC Bank
  • Rockford Construction
  • SeyferthPR
  • Spectrum
  • Steelcase
  • Trillium Investments
  • Warner Norcross + Judd
  • Wege Foundation
  • Windquest
  • Wolverine Worldwide

More information on GRow100 and applying can be found on the city’s website.

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