Detroit Economic Revitalization
Team: Elise Gill, Katherine McEachern
Over the summer of 2014 our research team traveled to Detroit in an effort to gain insight on economic revitalization in cities that have gone through economic depression or significant loss of industry. From the research we conducted through ethnographic and secondary interviews we created Opportunity Labs, a program that seeks to help elevate jobless, low income, or under-skilled populations with opportunities to build their skills, meanwhile receiving compensation. Populations with the lowest income typically have the least amount of time and access to resources to fund self-education and career advancement. Therefore, Opportunity Labs' model compensates students while they are in the program.
Over the timeline of a year, the program includes initial training and course work, followed by apprenticeship and work in the Opportunity Lab’s support business, Opportunity IT. Through the hours of service and experience students gain credibility and on-the-job training preparing them for job placement. Opportunity Labs also provides career counseling and job placement assistance. Once the students have connected with reliable jobs they will funnel 5% of their first three year’s income back to the program to help offset the cost of their education and stipend. The goal is to train the students to the best of our ability and to help connect them with the best jobs.