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There are countless causes of poverty, such as a changing economy, poor education, destabilized families, illiteracy and social injustice, to name just a few. Poverty, especially among minorities, is a deeply entrenched and complex problem that no single policy, administration, organization or program can solve. However, many public and private organizations throughout Detroit, including the DEGC, are working to address the systemic causes of poverty and find solutions.

The DEGC believes providing accessible employment, especially to minorities, is an important step. In the last three years, the DEGC has helped facilitate the creation of more than 23,000 new jobs throughout Detroit, with nearly 5,000 of those coming from the 2019 FCA project alone. These jobs have been created intentionally, considering the skills, abilities and interests of the City’s current and future population. Wherever there is an opportunity to prioritize Detroiters for jobs, or multiply employment using the local workforce, we do our very best to make it happen.

Many of our partners are working to increase the employability of Detroiters. This includes education and vocational training, expunging non-violent criminal records and guiding returning citizens back into the workforce. Grow Detroit’s Young Talent, Entrepreneurs of Color and Motor City Match are excellent programs borne from private and public collaborations, funded with public and philanthropic dollars and targeted at giving our homegrown talent access to success.

Thanks to Detroit at Work and Detroit Employment Solutions Corporation, Detroit’s labor market is also becoming more efficient, matching job seekers to jobs and related training. The DEGC is helping Detroit businesses build capacity, grow revenue and increase their workforce. We’re also working with the City, TCF Bank, DTE and others to develop a new procurement program that provides a similar service for Detroit’s minority suppliers and service providers.

We must move with a sense of urgency to address all the issues that prevent people from getting work — even potential roadblocks like transportation and affordable childcare. Detroiters are not looking for a free ride, but a helping hand. Just look at Benita Taylor, a recent graduate of Dymond Designs Beauty School in Harbortown Center. Taylor received a scholarship to attend the school, received her certificate with the first graduating class and was offered a job at Dymond Designs Studio and Salon. Marlene Brooks, owner of both Dymond businesses, won a $65,000 cash award from Motor City Match to open the beauty school. She is on a mission to develop minority entrepreneurs and build Detroit’s neighborhoods.

There are countless others like Benita and Marlene who are committed to ending the cycle of poverty for themselves and others. It is our job to provide them with the necessary tools and pave the way for their future.