The City of Grand Rapids has a new program to help 18 to 24-year-olds find meaningful work.

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GRow1000 Academy is an offshoot of the City's GRow1000 Program, which offers temporary summer positions for teens looking for their first job. GRow1000 was launched in 2020 by the City of Grand Rapids in global COVID-19 pandemic and ongoing racial and economic disparities.

Building off that, the City of Grand Rapids says that GRow1000 Academy aims to provide young people access to careers:

The program promises to enhance participants’ employability skills, (re)discover gifts and talents, and build upon each person’s ability to make meaningful decisions.

On Friday, June 24, Academy participants were paired with employers at job fair at City Hall. Those hired will work a total of 16 weeks, 20 hours per week, at $17 per hour. The City of GR says the work experiences are "curated to ensure exposure to all aspects of participating business/org. -- creating pathways to future careers."

Those in the academy will also participate in professional development sessions and receive support from the Grand Rapids Center for College Success.

At the end of the GRow1000 program, the employer will evaluate the work performance of the participant, and if satisfactory, can commit to hiring the person long-term.

GRow1000 Academy is curated by Our Communities Children and supported by Bank of America. Bank of America is providing half of the participants' wages, while the employer is paying the other half.

City Manager Mark Washington said in a release,

We are thrilled that Bank of America has teamed with us on this enhancement to our GRow1000 program. This is a natural evolution to our jobs program where those who are ready for the workforce can find opportunities to begin their careers. Bank of America’s financial support encourages businesses to participate and build a pipeline for talent that has been challenging to maintain since the pandemic. It also provides a unique opportunity for young adults residing in underserved neighborhoods to build future careers.

Grand Rapids residents between the ages of 18 and 24 interested in participating in future Grow1000 Academy sessions, and business looking to get involved, can apply here.

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