Unemployed Secure Jobs Through State Initiative


More than 1,000 unemployed Michigan residents have secured full-time jobs through the state’s Community Ventures program, launched last October.

Nearly 65 employers have committed to the program, which connects pre-screened unemployed residents from distressed neighborhoods in Flint, Saginaw, Pontiac, and Detroit with companies willing to hire and provide opportunities for long-term sustainable employment.

“The Community Ventures program is an innovative approach to one of our toughest challenges: Providing a path to employment for people who’ve never had a job or have been out of work for an extended period,” Gov. Rick Snyder said in a statement last Friday. “Businesses and community groups have stepped forward to join this effort and together we’re finding ways for the structurally unemployed to get back in the workplace and build new lives for themselves.”

Snyder says the average retention rate for employees placed through the program is 87 percent. Among them is Detroit resident Travis Butler, who landed his first job ever through Community Ventures. He now works for Detroit Chassis, where he says he has “the opportunity to earn work experience and get vocational skills I wouldn’t have gotten otherwise.”

Butler also receives support services such as transportation assistance and life skills through an on-site career coach through Community Ventures. Other services available through the program — which aims to help participants overcome barriers to employment — include childcare, adult education, etc.

Michael Gurthrie, Detroit Chassis CEO, says the program helps minimize the risk that comes with hiring individuals who might not otherwise be considered for employment “by doing the pre-assessment, screening, hiring, and employability skills training, and providing extraordinary support while our new recruits are transitioning into full employment.” 

Community Ventures has also teamed up with the Flint-based St. Luke’s New Life Center, Diplomat Pharmacy, and other employers to expand operations of a nonprofit organization that trains and employs women to sew gowns and scrubs for various regional health care providers. Since its launch in February, the partnership has created 27 jobs and expects to add 75 more over the next two years.