Serve Squad is a hybrid, social impact IT project management (PM) service and STEM career prep for underserved youth. Five, underserved youth interns, ages 16-19, from under resourced communities will receive stipends, top-tier PM training, wrap around services, and pre-college/apprenticeship preparation over the 12-month pilot.
Youth will take a proctored PM exam and graduate with a national PM badge in alignment with the Project Management Institute’s (PMI) curriculum.
They will be paid stipends during their active-learning experiences, which are achieved as IT PM interns participating in providing assistance to IT challenged social impact program providers.
PM was selected as the top skill and talent by southeast Michigan employers according to the Workforce Intelligence Network. It is listed by the State of Michigan as a top 5 job through 2026. Research in Journal of Public and Nonprofit Affairs showed that 80% of social impact programs need collaboration management i.e. PM. to effectively reach solutions together.
Meanwhile, despite Michigan's resource shortage, only 6.92% of tested Detroit high school students achieved career readiness according to the State of Michigan. Thankfully, over 1,000 US colleges are now accepting project-based learning portfolios in addition to test scores. PM is applicable to a plethora of occupations regardless of the youth's chosen profession due to its inclusion of teamwork, communication, scheduling, budgeting, risk analysis, and other technical and soft skills.
Serve Squad will target both urban and rural communities with a focus on giving opportunities to youth who have aged out of foster care, been adjudicated and experienced poverty-related indicators. We will bridge gaps using remote communication and collaboration cloud-based tools. The pilot will start in Michigan's communities within the Northwest Detroit area e.g. Warren, Livonia, and NW Detroit zip codes and expand statewide with a global target.
Funded by Ann Arbor, MI (January 2019)