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Grow Detroit’s Young Talent App Showcase

Grow Detroit’s Young Talent (GDYT), a citywide summer program led by the city of Detroit that trains and employs young adults who are residents of the city, in conjunction with the Boys and Girls Club of Southeastern Michigan, offered a unique opportunity to 30 participants to learn app design and coding. A team of Apple employees guided the young participants throughout the program as they learned how to build an app prototype that solved a local community challenge in the areas of hip hop, sustainable fashion, and mobility.

MICHauto presented the mobility challenge to the participants at the beginning of the summer: “how do we utilize existing forms of communication and create new ones that are tied together and enabled by the people?” At the showcase on Wednesday, Aug. 18, the participants presented their app prototypes to a panel of judges. A mobility app called Eye D took second place winning $500.

Eye D is an app designed for residents of urban areas to see and report any infrastructural issues in their communities. The goal is to bridge the gap between the public and elected officials and streamline communication about issues that could impact the modes of mobility around the city.

In the app, participants can report infrastructure problems directly to city officials, review other reports that have been filed, and message other users about their reports and provide support. To better understand who to direct reports to, there will also be a directory of city leaders with profiles that identify their departments or areas of expertise.

Throughout the program, students learned valuable coding and design skills that have prepared them for the next step in their career journey. However, in addition to the technical skills, the participants took away even more valuable and transferrable skills including problem-solving and collaboration.

As Marco Torres, senior specialist and learning engineer at Apple, stated, “The tech skills are one thing; the transferable skills will come from the framework and workflows from challenge to solution concepts.”

The showcase revealed how students identify the problems that affect their community. Now, they walk away with the knowledge and skills to address those issues and make an impact on the world.