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Grow Detroit’s Young Talent: Mobility Challenge

July 22, 2021
Grow Detroit’s Young Talent (GDYT) is a citywide summer program led by the city of Detroit that trains and employs young adults who are residents of the city. GDYT, in conjunction with the Boys and Girls Club of Southeastern Michigan, is offering a unique opportunity to 30 participants to learn app design and coding in a GDYT app showcase that is supported and facilitated by Apple. A team of Apple employees will guide participants as they learn how to build an app prototype that solves a local community challenge in the areas of hip hop, sustainable fashion, and mobility.

Glenn Stevens Jr., executive director of MichAuto, presented the mobility challenge to the participants. By starting with the history and background information on mobility and Detroit’s infrastructure, he led up to two essential questions: (1) how can technology improve communication, access to transportation, and a greater sense of community, and (2) how do we utilize existing forms of communication and create new ones that are tied together and enabled by the people?

Ultimately, the participants were presented with the challenge to create ideas, improved communication tools, and technology enablers that can connect transportation and people in order to improve access to health care, education, employment, and life. The challenges are purposefully broad to spark creativity and generate new ideas to solve these challenging community issues.

As students develop their app designs and prototypes, they have the opportunity to connect with community experts and ask questions about the challenges. To provide the students with additional resources and perspectives on the mobility challenge, MichAuto has asked Mark de la Vergne, vice president of project development at Cavnue, and Brandon Tucker, associate vice president of workforce and community development at Washtenaw Community College, to act as mentors. As a mentor they will use their experience and knowledge to respond to inquiries from students and provides support as needed.

At the end of the 6-week program, students will present their app prototypes in a showcase. However, more importantly, students will walk away with an in-demand skill they can develop further into a career, as well as valuable soft skills.