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Washtenaw County Projects

Washtenaw County is home to the University of Michigan’s Ann Arbor campus. It is also one of the most economically segregated metro areas in the country. Poverty Solutions engages with local policymakers, employers, social service providers, advocacy groups, and philanthropic organizations to advance equity and promote economic mobility within the county.


Prosecutor Transparency Project

The Prosecutor Transparency Project – the first partnership of its kind in Michigan – involves the Washtenaw County Prosecutor’s Office, the American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan, and the University of Michigan’s Law School and Poverty Solutions initiative, with support from the Vital Projects Fund. In January 2021, the Prosecutor Transparency Project committed to two projects to identify potential racial inequities in the prosecutor’s office: (1) a robust study into racial disparities in Washtenaw County’s legal system, and (2) the identification and publication of performance and equity-based metrics.

>>The prosecutor transparency report, released in February 2024, delivers on the first project, with a summary of findings from analysis of case level data from nearly 35,000 requests for charges filed with WCPO from January 2017 through September 2022.


The University of Michigan is an active partner in SummerWorks, the Washtenaw County Summer Youth Employment Program, which is a 10-week summer employment and mentorship program that pairs employers with local youth to provide on-the-job training. SummerWorks is a community-focused, public-private-university partnership that connects youth to resources for building professional networks, exploring career opportunities, and developing essential job and leadership skills.

>>Learn more about SummerWorks

>>See the SummerWorks Mentoring Guide published in November 2020 (PDF)

>> Read more about our youth employment research

Opportunity Index

The Washtenaw Opportunity Index is a tool to benchmark acccess to opportunity by census tract. The index can guide future decisions about where to invest the county’s collective resources and how to consider policy changes to advance equity. Developed in partnership with Washtenaw County’s Office of Community and Economic Development, the Opportunity Index measures access to opportunity by combining 16 indicators into five categories: health, job access, economic well-being, education and training, and community engagement and stability.

>>See the Opportunity Index

>>Washtenaw County should consider long-term impact, implications of APRA allocations

Guaranteed Income to Grow Ann Arbor

Guaranteed Income to Grow Ann Arbor is a two-year pilot that provides monthly payments of $528 to 100 Ann Arbor entrepreneurs and gig workers with low incomes, starting in January 2024. Another 100 people from the eligible applicant pool will participate in a randomized controlled trial, without receiving the monthly payments. The study will assess how people spend the monthly payments as well as how the cash affects their entrepreneurial activities and various dimensions of health and well-being. 

>>Learn more about GIG A2

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