Jonatan Martinez (MPP '20) describes his internship with the LEAN Team at the Mayor's Office in Detroit, and explains how his own background has sparked his devotion to breaking the cycle of poverty and serving his community.
Good evening everyone.
My name is Jon Martinez, and I am here today partly due to luck and mostly due to a hardworking, determined mother who wanted to provide a better life for her children than the one that she had.
My family was able to do the impossible - break the vicious cycle of poverty which we like countless others have faced for generations.
My roots inform my devotion to the alleviation of poverty, an issue that is driven by a multitude of factors which I am prepared to do my part in addressing throughout my life.
Before coming to Ford, I focused on mitigating health disparities in the city of Detroit related to lead poisoning and asthma.
The number of road blocks faced by families inspired me to come here.
This past summer, I had the privilege to work for my community once again by interning for the Detroit mayor's office whose mission is to serve the residents of the city.
Their I worked for the LEAN team, who focuses on supporting city managers, increasing the impact of their programs, to the use of such tools as a domestic framework which is a data driven improvement cycle that stands for define and measure analyze improve and control.
We work on many issues ranging from simplifying procurement to improving Emergency Service Deployment.
Essentially, it's the mayor's consulting team but saying the word consultant in the city is like saying Voldemort at Hogwarts - you don't want to do that.
Through the LEAN team, I had the opportunity of working on one of the mayor's policy priorities supporting a workforce development pilot titled Detroit brightness event.
This pilot streamlined various services to bus barriers to employment such as expungement tutoring and GED attainment into one bundle.
This is made possible with an agreement with Fiat Chrysler to provide Detroiters who participated in the program priority hiring for the new G plant that opens next year.
I had a key role in crafting, training staff, and implementing this pilot throughout this throughout the summer.
By the end we were able to serve over 9,000 Detroit residents through the program.
During exit interviews, hope radiated from the face of these residents.
Many of them told me that this was the 1st time in their lives that they felt that the city was working for them.
Moments like this fuel my drive to serve and help those in need.
As we speak, thousands of Detroiters are applying for those jobs available to them thanks to the pilot which the city plans to expand and continue and hopefully serve as a framework for others to use.
My fingers are crossed that when the smoke clears and the G plant opens its doors next year, thousands of Detroiters will be given the opportunity to break the cycle of poverty.
My experience this summer reinforced the vision I came here to pursue and reminded me the importance of working with a great team and a passionate mentor.
Also to my surprise, the dynamic nature of consulting might be what's right for me.
I know this won't be the last time that I play a role in working to improve the lives of those in my community thanks to the doors that Ford has opened to me.