LANSING, Mich. — An estimated 235,000 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 has proclaimed June 2023 as Youth Employment Month in Michigan.
“As we grow our economy, we must work together to support and grow our workforce,” said Governor Whitmer. “We encourage Michigan employers to offer meaningful, safe, and valuable work and volunteer opportunities to our youth, including those with disabilities. By providing young Michiganders with the education, training, skills, and experience they need for lifelong economic success, we will deliver on our plan to help more people ‘make it in Michigan’ and build a brighter future for our state.”
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. LEO also partners with local businesses and Michigan Works! agencies to develop and promote productive opportunities for youth, ages 16-24. Summer youth employment opportunities are offered within many Michigan industries including agriculture, amusement and recreation services, lodging, camping, retail, and food service.
“We are committed to supporting Michigan’s young talent with the knowledge and access to resources necessary to ensure their future career success,” said Susan Corbin, director of LEO. “Through partnerships and investments such as these, we are helping connect youth with safe, meaningful opportunities that prepare them with the skills and experience they need to navigate career paths or transition to post-secondary training.”
LEO also offers programs geared toward providing equal opportunities for career-based exploration, training, and employment through vocational rehabilitation services offered by their 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. Technical support and training are also available to businesses that host youth with disabilities during summer programming and provide employment opportunities that maximize diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility.
“Giving young people employment and career exploration opportunities is essential for their personal and professional development, allowing them to learn about different industries, understand the importance of hard work, and helping them make informed decisions about their future careers,” said Stephanie Beckhorn, Director of LEO’s Office of Employment and Training. “For employers, hiring young people can bring fresh perspectives, energy, and enthusiasm to the workplace. An investment in youth employment benefits our future workforce, Michigan’s employers, and our state’s economy.”
To further assist Michigan employers, LEO recently hosted two webinars:
- Summer Youth Work Programs: Highlighting LEO’s partnership with the Detroit Youth Conservatory, and youth programs offered through the Michigan Works! Network.
- The Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity, Wage and Hour Division, recently hosted a joint webinar with the U.S. Department of Labor focused on the employment of minors, minimum wage, overtime, and the payment of wages, with important information for young job seekers, schools, parents and employers.
Additionally, programs through the Michigan Works! network, such as the Young Professionals initiative, as well as Jobs for Michigan’s Graduates programming prepare students for both education and career success.
“Programs like the Young Professionals initiative and Jobs for Michigan's Graduates, amongst others, broaden perspectives and allow youth to envision a future where they are educated, employed, and career bound,” said Northwest Michigan Works! Director Terry Vandercook. “Having that real-life exposure through work experience and mentorship, while also receiving additional support for overcoming barriers, sets youth on a path towards self-sufficiency and success.”
To further their career planning, students are encouraged to use Pathfinder, Michigan’s free online tool to explore careers and identify educational opportunities throughout the state. Using current labor market, wage, and institutional data and metrics, Pathfinder creates an individualized career roadmap for each student, helping them to make informed choices about educational and career options.
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 learn more about youth employment, visit Michigan.gov/YouthEmployment.