A message from Urban Alliance CEO Eshauna Smith on our expansion to Detroit:
We are thrilled to announce Urban Alliance’s fifth region…Detroit!
As many of you know, we’ve been searching for a new region where we can bring meaningful early work experience to more youth through our flagship High School Internship Program. Today, we officially launched Urban Alliance Detroit alongside our newest partner, the Quicken Loans Community Fund.
When our program started in 1996, young people from underserved communities simply didn’t have access to the same kinds of economic opportunities as their peers in more affluent areas of the city – and that disparity in employment access affected their ability to become economically self-sufficient in adulthood. So we made it our mission to open doors to opportunity for youth – first in Washington, D.C., then in Baltimore, Chicago, Northern Virginia, and now in Detroit. Though we’ve come a long way in the last 22 years, the opportunity gap remains a persistent problem for economically-disadvantaged young people – with ripple effects across entire communities, from businesses to families to local leaders.
When we first visited Detroit, we were struck by the city’s strong commitment to empowering the next generation. In particular, the network of schools, local government, nonprofits, businesses, and funders who both recognize the importance of youth employment and actively work to strengthen Detroit’s workforce development ecosystem is impressive. We believe that it truly takes a village to build brighter futures for our youth, so we are honored to be joining the Detroit community to help expand economic opportunities for more young people across the city.
Our expansion to Detroit is grounded in our core mission: to provide meaningful, effective youth employment opportunities to as many young people who need them as we can. These young men and women are why we came to Detroit, and we feel privileged to serve them.
We are also fortunate to have incredible partners in the city supporting our expansion, especially the Quicken Loans Family of Companies – our anchor employer – who will provide paid internships to 30 youth annually. Quicken Loans’ commitment to opening doors to opportunity for the residents of the cities in which they operate aligns with our core mission, and their early, enthusiastic support made this expansion possible. We are grateful for their partnership and for the support of our long-time partner Bank of America – who hosts interns in all of our regions and will also host five interns annually in Detroit – and The Skillman Foundation – who has made youth employment a pillar of their work to provide increased equity and opportunity for city youth.
On that first visit to Detroit, we not only found a thriving youth employment community, we saw a city filled with promise, and youth brimming with potential. We want to help nurture that potential to empower more Detroit youth to succeed, and to support the city’s continued prosperity. We are so excited to work with the entire Detroit community to open more doors for its talented young people.
Your continued support has made this new chapter possible for Urban Alliance, and we are forever humbled by it.