Summer17 Youth Employment Program

Washtenaw County Summer Youth Employment Program Expanded to the University of Michigan

'As a part of Summer17, we are partnering with county government and community partners and we are bringing the resources of the U-M to bear on a poverty-related issue.' - Poverty Solutions Director H. Luke ShaeferIn 2017, the University of Michigan piloted an on-campus Summer Youth Employment Programin partnership with Washtenaw County’s Summer17 employment programto pair youth with faculty and staff to help them gain work experience, mentorship, and life skills training. Thirty-nine youth were placed in a variety of jobs across the scope of the U-M enterprise. The program will continue this summer, under Washtenaw County’s Summer18 program.

The Summer Youth Job Program was started by Washtenaw County in 2016 and expanded in 2017 as U-M came on board as an employer. In the county’s pilot year, 26 businesses employed and mentored 50 youth who gained meaningful work experience and income through the program. Through this partnership, we have doubled the number of jobs available to youth.

'I'm in the position I am today because someone gave me a chance. In fact, multiple people gave me the opportunity to succeed and they help me every step along the way. I truly feel that I would be doing a disservice to the next generation if I don't do everything I could to help them succeed.' - Jeremy French, manager of Occupational Health Services at Michigan Medicine, whose unit will host a youth employee this summer.The U-M Summer Youth Employment Program is one of the first of its kind to be conducted by a major university, and is unique because it measures the impact and uses research to determine best practices.

As the program continues, the goal is to measure qualitative outcomes such as youth employee satisfaction and link them with administrative data, like high school attainment, employment outcomes, and college or vocational training enrollment. Poverty Solutions is working to translate findings to inform youth jobs programs developed by “anchor institutions” such as government agencies and other kinds of large company job sites.

Partners: UM: Poverty Solutions, Ginsberg Center, Human Resources and Youth Policy Lab; Michigan Works! Southeast; Washtenaw County Office of Community and Economic Development. Duration: 20 hours per week; 9 weeks. Participants: 41 youth, ages 16-24 at UM, 77 total employed across the county; Nearly 40 employers across academic and medical campuses.

Download the Summer Youth Employment fact sheet (PDF).

Summer Youth Employment Program Timeline

Principal Investigators

H. Luke Shaefer, Director of Poverty Solutions
Mary Jo Callan, Director of Ginsberg Center
Youth Policy Lab
U-M Human Resources

For more information on the University of Michigan’s partnership with Washtenaw County and the Summer Youth Employment Program, contact Poverty Solutions assistant director Julia Weinert at