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Boys & Girls Clubs of Southeastern Michigan Offers Immersive Retail Experience, Jobs and Mentors for Detroit Youth

Immersive Job-Skills Program Seeks to Close Economic Gap

For many teens attending Boys & Girls Clubs of Southeastern Michigan, paychecks from afterschool jobs contribute to their family’s household income. But what if teens could also get a job that helps them build essential life skills, while working with friends and learning from mentors in an innovative industry?

This September, the Detroit-based Boys & Girls Club is launching a first-of-its-kind immersive retail experience that will provide paid jobs to 300 Club teens. Industry Club, as the new experience will be called, offers an opportunity to explore careers and network with other entrepreneurs.

Adding to the traditional pressures that teens face, the COVID-19 pandemic is widening the wealth and opportunity gap for many communities around the country, including Detroit. That’s why Boys & Girls Clubs of Southeastern Michigan is reimagining how they serve youth and families to more effectively reduce poverty and contribute to social and economic mobility.

“We are focused on ensuring that, when kids leave our Club, they are career ready, start-up ready and home-owner ready,” said Shawn Wilson, CEO of Boys & Girls Clubs of Southeastern Michigan.

“Boys & Girls Clubs are a safe place for kids, but also a way to revitalize the entire neighborhood and community which can help lead to job opportunities.” - Shawn Wilson

Boys & Girls Club of Southeastern Michigan hopes to expand Industry Club beyond the retail fashion industry and provide exposure to other non-traditional careers and industries.

The Industry Club operates inside retail store Detroit is the New Black, located in the heart of downtown Detroit. Participants will learn the business cycle of fashion and design by producing a product and seeing it through subsequent phases to in-store staging and marketing. Teens will also learn critical skills like creating a budget and managing finances. All experiences will adhere to CDC safety guidelines, keeping the safety of Club members as the number one priority.

Boys & Girls Club member Erica T., 15, hopes the opportunity advances her goal of owning a business. Erica, a passionate artist, has a fashion and beauty brand, Monique Fabboo. She is selling paintings, homemade soap and jewelry.

“The Industry Club will teach me a lot of things I don’t know yet as a business owner. I’m excited about a new environment and look forward to learning how to make my business bigger and have fun with it.” - Erica

Erica knows it’s important for teens at her Club and across the nation to have exposure to different careers and learn essential skills so that they can easily pivot between jobs. By remaining flexible, Erica said she will be ready for whatever comes her way.

In addition to the partnership with Detroit is the New Black, the Industry Club receives support from Bedrock, a Detroit real-estate firm providing the space for the Industry Club at no cost, and Ponyride, a small business incubator offering coworking space within Detroit Boys & Girls Clubs for kids and parents.

For more information on Boys & Girls Club of Southeastern Michigan’s Industry Club, visit

Learn more about how Boys & Girls Clubs are preparing the leaders, innovators and problem-solvers of tomorrow.

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