Generations of skilled tradespeople built the Motor City, put the world on wheels, and created the American middle class. In recent decades though, interest in skilled trades careers has diminished among youth and young adults nationwide along with vocational education options. More than half of Detroit’s youth and adults are unemployed and outside the workforce while redevelopment projects are hindered by a shortage of skilled trades workers. At DTE, our focus is on helping revive Detroit’s trade schools, placing high school students in paid summer work experiences and launching a skilled trades program at Henry Ford College in nearby Dearborn.
Terra Gay has dedicated the past 22 years to working directly with youth as an educator, certified leadership development trainer, and a community and youth advocate. She currently serves as senior vice president of programs at Points of Light, representing our education and youth development initiatives, as well as military, veteran and disaster preparedness programming. Terra’s passion for positively impacting youth inspired the launch of Be the Change Atlanta, an intergenerational collaboration of students, professionals, community activists and youth advocates – unifying community changemakers around a common goal of empowering youth.
Passionate about giving back, Jake Reid has volunteered with more than 30 organizations. And no matter the cause, his mission of turning actions into positive outcomes for the people around him remains the same. For the last five years, Jake has volunteered as a coach with his local Special Olympics chapter, making it his priority to ensure that the athletes are having fun. He strives to make sure that his participants enjoy each and every weekly practice, and that they become just as excited to come back as he is to help.
From lemonade stand fundraisers to ideas that grow into global movements, young people in communities across the country are discovering and owning their ability to take action that changes the world. Here’s a short list of young people who inspire us, and prove every day that you are never too young to make your mark on the world!