Detroit non-profit providing path to education and careers

DETROIT – Finding a job can be hard during a pandemic, especially if there’s a need for further education. This morning for Your Neighborhood we head to Southwest Detroit.

If you are looking for a job but are dealing with barriers to employment like education, one local non-profit is here to help.

“It made me feel good and confident that I could do something!” said Joan Olisakwe.

The 19 year old and her sister just moved to the United States from Nigeria. She recently graduated with her GED and is looking forward to joining the navy.

“I’ve enlisted already,” said Joan. “I leave for boot camp in February!”

Unable to attend regular school due in part to her age at the time of immigration, she continued her education here at SER Metro Detroit Youth Services.

“SER is a workforce development agency,” said VP of Youth Programs, Ann Leen. “We are located in Southwest Detroit and we have offices on the east side of the city and we serve young adults and adults who are in need of training, education or services to prepare them for the work force.”

“It was good!” Joan added. “I got the attention I needed because the teachers, they focus on what exactly you need, what you told them your problem is and I got all the benefits from them because you have, they expose you job wise, IT wise and all this stuff.”

“I struggled in high school at the start before I came here,” explained Bryndyn Williams.

Bryndyn is another SER Metro Detroit graduate and success story. Now in its 50th year, the non-profit is placing youth and adults in not just jobs but careers. The services are free to those eligible who are out of school and facing barriers to employment. For Anne, the success stories are why she loves the work she does.

“That’s the best part of my job,” she said. “When a person comes in and says ‘look at this car that I bought’ or ‘I signed a lease’ or ‘I’m paying for my child to go to school’ that’s like the greatest reward when you do this work because we have so many success stories.”

And they’re relationships that will last a lifetime as these students get ready for their next chapter.

“It makes me feel relieved. You know? I finally get to finish up and move on further with my life,” said Bryndyn.

“I’m excited and nervous!” said Joan.

Last year, SER Metro Detroit served 1,000 young people. This year they hope to serve 600. The free program operates on funding from grants and private donors. For more information, please visit:

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