Could Detroit’s renaissance begin to extend past the downtown and Midtown areas? Community Ventures, a new worker retraining program, is trying to make that happen, and Elisabeth Gerber, who analyzed the program with a group of four Ford School students, believes the program is doing an exceptional job.
Nathan Bomey writes about Community Ventures in “Finding jobs in Detroit: Retraining program that works” for the February 14 edition of the Detroit Free Press. “Community Ventures offers a unique new model for worker retraining programs, creating a path for the structurally unemployed to learn new skills and find their way back to the workplace,” Bomey writes.
Community Ventures, born out of the Michigan Economic Development Corporation, placed over 2,600 structurally unemployed workers in jobs in its first two years. More than half of these workers live in Detroit. Ford School students, working with Professor Elisabeth Gerber, “praised the program, concluding it surpasses the federal government’s comparable programs,” according to Bomey, and finding the workers’ average wage of $11.64 per hour “compares quite favorably” with other similarly skilled workers in their regions.
Governor Rick Snyder’s administration hopes to expand the Community Ventures model statewide, with some hope it can serve as a blueprint for a national program.
Elisabeth Gerber is the Jack L. Walker Jr. Professor of Public Policy at the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy and a research associate with the Center for Political Studies at the Institute for Social Research. She is engaged in a wide variety of research and public service initatives with a focus on regionalism and intergovernmental cooperation, transportation policy, state and local economic policy, land use and economic development, local fiscal capacity, and local political accountability.