Public Allies’ Metro Detroit Program Invests in Detroit Youth

Why is investing in Detroit’s youth as important as investing in its infrastructure?

Stephen Henderson meets with Ismael Ahmed, associate provost for Metropolitan impact at the University of Michigan-Dearborn, and two former participants in the Public Allies Metro Detroit program. They discuss the ways this program, sponsored and supported by U of M, is changing the lives of Metro Detroit’s youth. They main points they discuss:

  • What is it?: Ahmed says Public Allies is a national program in 24 cities that provides support for youth by placing them to work with local nonprofits. He says participants are paid to serve, receiving monetary compensation, health care, child care, and a stipend for future schooling or paying off school loans as well as 400 hours of leadership training within a nonprofit.
  • “Opportunity youth”: Ahmed says the program focuses on “opportunity youth” a term that he uses to refer to young people ages 18-24, especially young economically disadvantaged people of color who live in urban neighborhoods. He says that investing in Detroit’s youth is “just as important as investing in infrastructure” and the program aims place 1,000 public allies in nonprofits in the next 10 years.
  • Success stories: Two former Public Allies program participants joined Stephen and Ahmed in the studio to talk about their experiences and how the program has altered the course of their lives and careers. One talks about how her work with Public Allies has led her to start her own nonprofit organization and the other discusses how this opportunity came to him at precisely the right time.

To hear the full conversation, click the audio link above.