The Detroit Medical Center’s (DMC) Project Genesis summer jobs program has introduced more than 800 Detroit Public Schools’ students to health care career opportunities since 2006, and more than 150 students, alumni and hospital leaders recently celebrated the program’s milestone achievement of 10 successful years.
Each year, approximately 100 students are chosen to participate in the program from among 500 applications. The Project Genesis work program provides students with on-the-job training in a variety of clinical and non-clinical health care jobs across DMC facilities. Students also receive ongoing mentorship and participate in weekly career exploration workshops.
The continued growth of Detroit’s business sector depends on companies being able to find workers with the necessary skills to fill job vacancies. The DMC is no exception. It must continue to attract skilled talent in a multitude of health care categories. Investing in Project Genesis helps prepare Detroit’s youth for jobs today, and the growth sectors of tomorrow.
“Project Genesis is beneficial for our city, our hospital and our youth,” said Joe Mullany, CEO of the Detroit Medical Center. “The students gain experience from their summer work at the DMC. The community gains engaged and contributing youth, and the DMC accesses and develops some of the best and brightest students from the Detroit Public Schools system who will hopefully, consider joining the DMC workforce in the future.”
More than 20 Project Genesis alumni currently work in the DMC system, which is Detroit’s largest employer. Former DPS students have held jobs at the DMC ranging from registered nurses, physical therapists, emergency room technicians, pharmacy technicians and research assistants, to name a few.
Jocelyn Rice, a graduate of Cass Technical High School and a Gates Millennium Scholarship recipient, began her Project Genesis experience as a high school junior.
Her work experience in the DMC Rehabilitation Institute of Michigan has inspired Jocelyn to continue her education in the field of neuroscience and work with adults and children recovering from stroke and traumatic brain injuries. Now 18, Jocelyn plans to attend the University of Michigan – Ann Arbor where she will begin her studies this fall entering the pre-med track and majoring in neuroscience.
“I’ve always been interested in the brain–in understanding what makes people who they are, and what gives them the strength to overcome their obstacles,” said Jocelyn. “Here at RIM, I see all types of patients–amputees, stroke victims and brain injury patients. They all desire to be anywhere but in rehab. But when they realize that to get back to the life they had before their accident they have to work harder, I see a lightbulb shine in their eyes. Their lightbulb is mine as well. Their desire to push harder inspires me to work just as hard to continue my education and become the physician capable of treating them.”
Gov. Rick Snyder has created the Michigan Department of Talent and Economic Development with its efforts focused on connecting highly skilled Michigan talent with in-demand jobs. The Detroit Medical Center is complementing those efforts, on a more local level, by assisting DPS students in acquiring employment skills in their chosen areas of interest and aligning them with health care professionals who provide mentorship and skills training.
Project Genesis invests in Detroit’s youth and supports them in obtaining meaningful health care job experience. In turn, the students gain skills they can apply in college and in future work opportunities.
“The collaboration established 10 years ago by the Detroit Medical Center with Detroit Public Schools continues to develop bright, young individuals who bring fresh ideas, new perspectives and a desire to give back to their home communities,” Mullany said.
Brenda Vasconcelos-Ramirez, a Cass Technical High School graduate and current Project Genesis participant, learned about Project Genesis from her high school counselor. She will attend the University of Michigan this fall and hopes to work in health care administration. Brenda spent her early childhood in a rural village in southern Mexico, where the nearest hospitals were four hours away and doctor visits were rare. Brenda recalls always believing she would one day become a doctor.
“Project Genesis has been a life-changing experience and has allowed me to grow professionally,” Brenda said. “In addition, the responsiveness of the DMC staff to my questions regarding career goals really helped shape my future career path. I discovered a myriad of career opportunities that I could not have imagined – all thanks to Project Genesis.”
Project Genesis serves as a pipeline for Detroit Medical Center to mentor and retain students who seek a health career including those jobs where there are current state and national worker shortages such as in the areas of primary care and specialty physicians, nurses, therapists, technicians and technology professionals. DMC remains committed to the Project Genesis summer employment program and looks forward to working with students from the Detroit Public Schools in the coming years.