Many programs return to help young people get jobs in Michigan

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

Last summer, the COVID-19 pandemic sent shockwaves to many young people trying to get started.

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

According to Drexel University’s 2021 Summer Job Outlook for U.S. Teens, teen employment is expected to be 31.5% in 2021, the highest since 2008. Compare that to last year when it was 26.3%.

Jordan Grant, 19, from Lapeer, gains work experience that sparks interest in a career path.

“I’ve always wanted to be in trade, so it was just a matter of deciding which one I would really pursue,” Grant said.

He started working as an apprentice electrician a few weeks ago and is very excited to get his full license.

He got the opportunity through a Michigan Works! program called “Oakland Nextafter looking for a job for months.

Grant works for Doug Linstrom, the GM of three local contractors who have partnered with Michigan Works!, Mister Sparky, Benjamin Franklin Plumbing and One Hour Heating and Air Conditioning.

“We’re always looking for skilled, you know, jobs in plumbing, heating and cooling and electricity. I swear we can always use at least two jobs,” Linstrom said.

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

He is now looking for a full-time job, but works part-time with seniors in 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 is open to people aged 16-24.

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

You can apply at

“We strongly recommend that you do this as soon as possible. We’ve gotten over 100 signups in the few weeks we’ve been open,” Straske added.

If you are an employer looking to offer paid work experience, you can also apply online here.

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

“We will have some students who will be working on some beautification and maintenance projects around the town of Mount Clemens, so we are very excited about this new partnership,” said Cris Robson.

Over the next year, approximately 400 youth will participate in the Macomb-St. Claire Michigan works! Young Professionals program. More information can be found here.

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