135 student workers graduate from construction trades program as part of $500.5 million capital improvement program

Students earned $250 per week and received a $900 bonus for completing the nine-week program

Detroit— Detroit Public Schools today held a graduation ceremony to mark the completion of the nine-week DPS Student Summer Worker Program, honoring 135 students who were hired to work this summer on school construction sites as part of the district’s $500.5 million capital improvement program. Students received a certificate of achievement, a personal letter of recommendation, and a $900 incentive bonus for completing the program. 

The DPS Student Summer Worker Program combined classroom instruction with on-site job experience in construction trades for current DPS students and recent graduates age 16 and older. Students earned $250 per week during the nine-week program and were exposed to all aspects of the district’s construction program to build and renovate schools.

“The work program gave us an in-depth look at ‘the real world.’ By partnering a trade program with on-site job training, we were able to get an experience like no other,” said Jhane Hemmingway, a rising senior at Renaissance High School. “The the student worker program has been, by far, the best summer program I have worked with.”

Student workers were taught job skills that provided them with more opportunities for a career in skilled trades, design and construction management. Under the supervision of the DPS School Construction Program contractors and design build teams, students were exposed to the three primary aspects of the district’s bond program: design, construction and management.

Students worked in architects’ studios and construction offices, shadowed trades workers and attended project and performance meetings. They also rotated between job sites and received classroom instruction at the Philip Randolph Career and Technical Center.

“The attitude of the people and the up-beat atmosphere at both Randolph and the job site allowed for an amazing work experience,” said Jasmin Haynes, a DPS graduate attending Michigan State University.

The summer work program was open district-wide to currently enrolled or recently graduated DPS students age 16 and older. Applicants also had to pass an interview evaluation, drug test and maintain a 2.5 grade point average to be accepted in the program. 

The DPS Student Summer Worker Program complied with child labor regulations established by the United States Department of Labor and youth employment standards set by the Michigan Legislature for workers under age 18. 

This is the second year of the seasonal student work program that expanded the program by 60 students this year for a total enrollment of 135. 

Detroit voters approved Proposal S in November 2009 which enabled the district to access $500.5 million for school capital improvement projects. DPS received the sixth largest allocation in the nation.

The improvement program also includes technology upgrades and security initiatives being funded with Proposal S dollars. To comply with federal guidelines, all bond dollars must be spent within three years and all projects must be completed by Sept. 2012.


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