More than 1,000 young black men piled into Cobo Hall on Monday for permanent and seasonal job opportunities at a fair presented by the My Brother’s Keeper Alliance, a nonprofit born from an Obama administration initiative to close employment gaps for men of color.
The nonprofit partnered with the City of Detroit, the Detroit Regional Chamber of Commerce and the Campaign for Black Male achievement to connect dozens of local and regional employers with job-seekers between age 18-25. The majority of the 300 jobs are in the city.
“We know that at the earliest stages of their lives, young men of color are denied opportunities early on,” Michael Smith, special assistant to President Obama for MBK, said at a news conference prior to the fair. “For young men of color in this country, their future is inextricably tied to America’s future.”
Smith and other representatives of MBK implied that President Obama, who will exit the White House in two months, has made keeping the nonprofit going a priority, even in the wake of last week’s election.
“As you work hard in Detroit, the president is going to have your back,” Smith says.
The fair offered haircuts, complimentary ties and other career apparel, job-interview tips and other helpful strategies for employment. Employers present included Ilitch Holdings, Quicken Loans, Macy’s, Detroit Police Department, Detroit Water and Sewage Department, Lyft, Uber, Barton Malow and several other firms.
Christopher Thompson, a 22-year-old Detroiter, was one of several young men to be hired on the spot, landing a position as a day porter with Bedrock Real Estate Services.
“I’m right back on track,” Thompson says. “I’m doing daily plans on my future.”