LANSING, Mich. — An estimated 239,000 Michigan youth, ages 16-19, are expected to participate in the state’s labor market this summer, and to help raise awareness about the importance of youth earning valuable skills and training for the future while doing so safely and legally, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer proclaims June 2022 as Youth Employment Month in Michigan
“To grow Michigan’s economy, we need to empower and invest in young Michiganders who are the future small business owners, elected officials, and leaders of our great state,” said Governor Whitmer. “We encourage Michigan employers to offer meaningful, safe, and valuable work and volunteer opportunities to our youth, including those with disabilities. In 2021, Michigan’s hardworking small businesses helped create over 200,000 jobs, lower the state’s unemployment rate, and create opportunities in every region of the state. As governor, I am focused on empowering our young people by investing in their education from preschool to postsecondary, so they can pursue their potential by learning the skills to land good-paying in-demand jobs. These are not only investments in our growing economy, but investments in our state’s future.”
The Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity (LEO) has resources for businesses, schools, and parents seeking information about legally and safely employing minors, under the age of 18, including those with disabilities. In accordance with the Youth Employment Standards Act, all minors must obtain and provide a completed worker permit to their employer prior to starting work to ensure their working conditions are safe and legal.
To help employers prepare for the influx of young workers, LEO’s Wage and Hour Division recently hosted a webinar to provide important youth employment information and answer questions for young job seekers, schools, parents, employers, and other interested parties.
Vocational rehabilitation services through Michigan Rehabilitation Services (MRS) and the Bureau of Services for Blind Persons (BSBP) – which include MRS Pre-Employment Transition Services, MRS Young Adult Services, BSBP Pre-Employment Transition Services, and BSBP Youth Low Vision Services – are geared toward providing equal opportunities for career-based exploration, training, and employment. Technical support and training are also available to businesses that host students and youth with disabilities during summer programming and provide employment opportunities that maximize diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility.
“Summer employment experiences can be transformational to a young person as they begin their career pathway,” said Stephanie Beckhorn, Director of LEO’s Office of Employment and Training. “Career exploration, job shadowing, and skills training opportunities gives our youth the chance to gain valuable experience and build a network of professional referrals, often while earning wages. This offers tangible benefits to Michigan employers, and immeasurable benefits to our next generation of workers.”
The contributions of local businesses, LEO services, and programs through the Michigan Works! network are essential to the process of developing and promoting productive opportunities for youth, age 16-24. Summer youth employment opportunities are offered within many Michigan industries including agriculture, amusement and recreation services, lodging, camping, retail, and food service.
Additionally, programs such as Jobs for Michigan’s Graduates and Michigan Works! network initiatives such as the Young Professionals program prepare students for both education and career success.
To learn more about and find resources on youth employment, visit Michigan.gov/YouthEmployment.