Copyright 2024 SPARK

SummerWorks: Washtenaw County Summer Youth Employment Program

young man shaking hands with woman at job fair

Washtenaw County, MichiganWorks! Southeast, and the University of Michigan have partnered together for the fifth summer youth employment program.

Previously known as Summer19, SummerWorks is a 10-week summer employment and mentorship program that pairs local employers with young adults. It connects youth to resources for building professional networks, exploring career opportunities, and developing essential job and leadership skills.

Applications now are open for employers.

The program launched in 2016 as a partnership between MichiganWorks! Southeast and Washtenaw County Office of Community and Economic Development. In 2017, the University of Michigan joined the partnership to provide employment opportunities across the University of Michigan campus. Partnerships continue to expand to include Michigan Rehabilitation Services, the Washtenaw Intermediate School District, Washtenaw Alliance for Children and Youth, the Ann Arbor Area Chamber of Commerce, and more.

For the past two years, the program was able to engage about 100 youth and this year’s goal is to increase that to 125-130 youth. The organizers hope to grow the program by focusing on new career options and growing the workforce pipeline for companies. The program is open to young adults aged 16-24 and includes high school students and graduates, college students, and other talented and committed young adults. 

Benefits to Employers

  • Grow the future workforce: Introduce the next generation to your business and opportunities in your field.
  • Meet your business needs: Bring fresh eyes and energy to your organization this summer.
  • Invest in our community: Host a Summer Works employee and positively contribute to the development of a young adult in our community.

Role of Employers

By joining the program, you commit to:

  • Hire one or more young adults at a competitive wage ($10-12/hour) for 10 weeks (June-August) at 20 hours a week.
  • Share your career story and introduce young adults to potential careers and networks.
  • Participate in Match Day in May.
  • Attend an orientation in late spring to learn from others about creating a youth-friendly job that meets your business needs.
  • Provide supervision throughout employment.

How Summer Works Supports Employers

Summer Works staff will support employers by serving as employer of record, assisting with onboarding and orientation, and ensuring the young adults are equipped with the following:

  • 10+ hours of soft skills training to support personal and professional growth.
  • Necessary paperwork and identification.
  • Logistical support such as bus passes and work permits.
  • Ongoing career advisement and support.

Learn more at