News Column

Work-Volunteer Opportunity in Detroit

February 18, 2014

Zlati Meyer, Detroit Free Press

Feb. 17--Calyssa Lawyer, a public policy analysis major at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, was sick of Washington, so to find her next career adventure, she Googled "social justice fellowship" and found an interesting program in which participants work at host companies four days a week and volunteer with not-for-profits for the other day.

It was Challenge Detroit.

The 22-year-old military brat, whose family calls Augusta, Ga., home, is working for the Detroit Lions and joining her 29 fellow fellows in helping such organizations as COTS and Bleeding Heart Design at the University of Detroit-Mercy.

Challenge Detroit (, which aims to attract and retain talent to help infuse the area, is accepting applications for its third year. The deadline is March 9 for the 2014-15 cycle, which begins in September.

Fellows are from across the state and around the country and have a wide range of backgrounds. They work for host companies throughout the region, such as DTE Energy, Chrysler, Hospice of Michigan and Pure Michigan and are required to live in Detroit for the year. They participate in a leadership development program and are invited to numerous events in the city. Salary is $36,000, plus benefits.

"Challenge Detroit has really allowed people to see Detroit in a different light," said Lawyer, who lives in Riverfront Towers and said she'd consider staying in Detroit after her fellowship ends.

The inaugural year had 27 fellows. Of those, 24 remained in Detroit -- 12 continued at their host companies, four found full-time employment through the Challenge Detroit Network, five started their own companies and three found work on their own, according to organization spokesman Jeffrey Lamoureux.

Brooks Cushman, an intellectual property law firm in Southfield, is among the host companies. Frank Angileri, a partner at the firm, is on Challenge Detroit's board.

"We felt that Challenge Detroit was a great initiative to bring students and aspiring young talent into the city of Detroit to help revitalize the city of Detroit," said the firm's marketing director, Ryan Pasquali.

Contact Zlati Meyer: 313-223-4439 or Follow her on Twitter @ZlatiMeyer


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Original headline: Challenge Detroit accepting applications for work-volunteer program

Source: (c)2014 the Detroit Free Press

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