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My Brother's Keeper job fair finds employment for hundreds in Detroit

Nov 14, 2016

The Pathways to Success job fair is part of the ongoing effort by My Brother's Keeper Alliance to provide more opportunities to young men and boys of color, particularly in urban areas. 

Though the event is targeted at young boys and men of color, it was open to the public. 

My Brother's Keeper Alliance CEO Blair Taylor says the non-profit is working with Mayor Mike Duggan to fight a problem found in Detroit and other cities. "We have incredibly talented young men in our urban population center," Taylor said. "But we don't have enough jobs for them." The event, which Taylor called an "opportunity fair" brought about 40 employers, and 300 full-time jobs to Cobo Hall.  Many attendees were hired on the spot. The event also provided résumé writing workshops and other skills training to help hopeful employees successfully land interviews and ultimately, jobs.  African-Americans aged 16-19 face unemployment rates nearly twice as high as their white counterparts.  Taylor says he's surprised how complicated finding a job can seem for young people who don't often get professional guidance. "Often, some of us older folk take for granted the navigation through the job search process, because someone told us how to do it," Taylor said. "Really, what it boils down to is you know, they're not teaching you that in school." The My Brother's Keeper Alliance is focusing on unemployment, with the goal of acting as a liaison between communities where work is hard to find, and employers. Taylor says recruiters are beginning to realize Detroit and other cities are home to a talented population looking for work. However, companies sometimes lack the networks necessary to reach potential employees in urban centers.  "We're acting as kind of a conduit, if you will, for companies that have that interest (in recruiting urban communities), but may not necessarily have that experience," Taylor said "We're trying to link them to the talent that exists." 

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