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LEO | Youth Employment Month Highlights Opportunities for Youth to Gain Valuable Work Experience

Michigan Business Network
June 3, 2024 5:00 PM

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LANSING, Mich. — An estimated 250,000 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 2024 as Youth Employment Month in Michigan.

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 such as agriculture, energy, healthcare, information technology, manufacturing, recreation and tourism, and retail.

“Summer work experiences not only help more youth gain the skills they need to be successful in their futures, but they also help Michigan businesses meet their seasonal talent needs,” said Susan Corbin, director of LEO. “LEO is committed to helping businesses across Michigan succeed by ensuring young Michiganders have the skills employers need.”

LEO also offers programs geared toward providing equal opportunities for career exploration, training and employment through vocational rehabilitation services offered by their Bureau of Services for Blind Persons (BSBP) and Michigan Rehabilitation Services (MRS) – which include BSBP Pre-Employment Transition Services, BSBP Youth Low Vision Services, MRS Pre-Employment Transition Services and MRS Young Adult 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.

“Summer employment experiences can be transformational to a young person as they embark on their career journey,” said Stephanie Beckhorn, director of LEO’s Office of Employment and Training. “Career exploration, job shadowing and skills training opportunities give our youth the chance to gain valuable experience and build a network of professional referrals, often while earning wages.”

Additionally, programs through the Michigan Works! network, such as the Young Professionals initiative, as well as Jobs for Michigan’s Graduates programming prepare youth for both education and career success.

"Work experience is a vital building block for teens and young adults. It fosters a sense of responsibility, develops skills, and lays the foundation for meaningful career paths," said Jacob Maas, West Michigan Works! CEO. "This is why our West Michigan Works! youth programing meets youth wherever they are in life by supporting emotional well-being and soft skills as much as education and training, to provide the stable groundwork necessary to build a successful career."

To further their career planning, youth 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 individualized career roadmaps for each young person, empowering them to make informed decisions 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.

Supporting youth employment initiatives is part of LEO’s new All-Access Michigan approach. Using unique strategies and programs and innovative partnerships, LEO is addressing structural challenges that have historically prevented people and businesses from achieving their full potential.

To learn more about youth employment, visit Michigan.gov/YouthEmployment.


LEO Mission and Vision. Visit Michigan.gov/LEO to learn more.

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Michigan Business Network is an online broadcasting company that provides knowledge, news, and insights into Michigan’s businesses, industries, and economy.