Parent Connect and Addressing Racial Bias

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Update: 2016 DTE Energy Foundation and Summer Youth Employment

The DTE Energy Foundation’s Summer Youth Nonprofit Work Experience program is off and running with two new components.  First, when youth employees met their supervisors on June 23, 2016, their parents participated in “Parent Connect,” which provided an overview of employment resources available through Michigan Works! and nonprofit resources (see attached Connect agenda). Since many students would be earning their first paychecks, one of the nonprofit programs addressed was the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program that is a free service and could help maximize the return to youthful workers on their income taxes due next year. Also, career and college readiness were addressed by Muskegon Opportunity including federal paperwork that parents are required to complete to allow their kids to access scholarships and grants. The Parent Connect element turns this summer youth employment program into a two-generational approach, and, in some instances, even a three-generational program.

Second, participants recently enjoyed learning about diversity and how to address racial bias in the workplace through a workshop presented by Alfredo Hernandez program director and Ya-Hanna Leys development director.  Here's a look at an exercise that discusses stereotyping, led by Mr. Hernandez:


In addition, the youth employees are also busy deciding and planning on the service project that they will complete at the end of their work experience. Service learning is a major piece of employment experiences that often deepens the loyalty to the organization while establishing a service culture in the workplace.

For more information on the DTE Energy Foundation and United Way of the Lakeshore collaborative effort with Michigan Works! Summer Youth Nonprofit Work Experience program, please feel free to get in touch with Kristina Coby, Director, Community Engagement, United Way of the Lakeshore at: 231-332-4006 or