For Detroit youth interested in retail or fashion merchandising, the Boys & Girls Clubs of Southeastern Michigan is launching its first Industry Club. By teaming up with Bedrock Detroit, Ponyride and Détroit is the New Black, BGCSM is offering the opportunity to learn the business of fashion.
“What we’re doing is embedding the youths inside of a true industry,” says Shawn Wilson, BGCSM president and CEO. “The whole goal of the club is to teach the kids the business cycle of the retail and fashion industry.”
The year-round program will operate primarily out of Détroit is the New Black and employ three “cohorts” per year, the first starting in September. They’ll have their hands in everything from product design to marketing to sales.
“Ultimately they’ll get a chance to see all of those different components at work in real time,” Wilson says. And, perhaps most importantly, the kids gain access to those connections and relationships that will prove invaluable as they venture out.
Registration is still open to youth enrolled in BGCSM. “When you look at most problems facing youths – whether it’s high incarceration rates, teen pregnancy, gun violence, etc., etc. – the core root of that is poverty,” he says.
“And so our goal is to really focus on and address poverty, and this program is an example of that. As with a lot of our programs, we hope it leads to our youths becoming career, startup and homeowner ready.”