Detroit Calls on Young Talent to Rejuvenate City

The new initiative Challenge Detroit is hosting a competition to select 30 innovative leaders from across the country to work in the area and help revitalize the economy. 

Posted: 03/14/2012 06:00 PM EDT

The city of Detroit knows the power of entrepreneurship and now they’re calling on leaders of tomorrow to help run the city with original ideas.

 

The new private sector initiative Challenge Detroit is hosting a competition to select 30 leaders from across the country to assist in developing and rejuvenating the Motor City. The participants will live and work in Detroit for one year, and will receive a $500 monthly housing stipend and a $30,000 annual salary. Some of the host companies include ePrize LLC, Valassis Media Solutions, Compuware Corp., Quicken Loans Inc., Beaumont Hospitals, United Way, hiredMYway.com and Team Detroit.

 

"Challenge Detroit provides an opportunity for talented individuals to become part of the revitalization of Detroit,” Glenn Oliver, CEO of H2bid.com and Challenge Detroit board of directors member, tells BET.com. “The winners will be living in Midtown — a cool neighborhood, with a major university, museums, lots of new businesses and new energy."

 

For the past few years, the state of Michigan has been experiencing an exodus of new graduates. The number of Michigan State University graduates leaving the state has more than doubled since 2001, from 24 percent to over 50 percent in 2011, according to the school. Miles away, 53 percent of University of Michigan graduates have left.

 

In an effort to lower tuition and ultimately provide an incentive for students to stay in the state upon graduation, State Sen. Rebekah Warren (D-Ann Arbor) proposed the Michigan 2020 bill in January to grant all students who have completed a K-12 education in the state a $9,575 grant per year. Paying the average cost of tuition for a public university in Michigan will only do so much to keep graduates in the state. If jobs are not around, students are less likely to stay.

 

By hosting young professionals from across the country, Challenge Detroit hopes to use the young contestants' diverse talents to create innovative ideas to attract new residents and help spark the metropolitan area’s economy.

 

Currently, over 80 percent of the city is populated by African-Americans, and unemployment stands at 21 percent for the demographic.

 

For more information on the program or to begin the application process visit here.

 

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(Photo: Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

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