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Skills For Life FAQ

Skills for Life

Skills for Life is a new paid work and training initiative created jointly by the City of Detroit and Detroit at Work to accomplish two goals:

1) provide residents with the training and credentials they need to make at least $15/hour; and

2) expand blight removal and other services in Detroit.  Participants will get paid five days a week as they split their time between working for the City of Detroit and engaging in education and training activities that lead to obtaining credential(s) required for better paying jobs.  

Over the next three years, the City of Detroit and Detroit at Work aim to serve up to 2,200 residents through this program. 

Individuals interested in the Skills for Life program must be willing and able to perform duties associated with at least one of the City of Detroit temporary jobs that will be a part of the program. Candidates must first be hired by the City of Detroit before being considered for Skills for Life. The majority of the positions require hands-on, manual labor that primarily takes place outdoors and sometimes during inclement weather.  
1.    If you’re a Detroiter 18+ years old or older 
2.    You need to obtain your GED or High School Diploma, OR need to obtain an occupational/vocational credential 
3.    Experienced hardships due to COVID-19  

Existing City of Detroit employees may be eligible for the program. (Existing employees please contact your HR department for more details.) 

Visit or the City of Detroit’s website to learn more about Skills for Life eligible positions.  

Skills for Life was officially launched in December of 2021 and interested parties may express interest at Detroit at Work will conduct individual assessments with residents hired by the City of Detroit to determine which pathway would be best for person.  The program will be continuously hiring over the three-year period. 

Participants of Skills for Life will work three days a week and train for two days a week. Schedules can be either Monday through Friday or Tuesday through Saturday.  Participants will receive ongoing career training, mentoring and exploration with their career coach.  

Trainings available during Skills for Life have yet to be announced. Some of the training programs Detroit at Work will offer may include: 

  • High School Diploma or GED obtainment 
  • Adult Education enhancement
  • CDL-A 
  • Carpentry 
  • Welding 
  • Computer Support Specialists 

Everyone will also benefit from career readiness workshops and training. 

The program will vary in length depending on which education and training track is selected. Most participants will be in the program between 6 and 12 months. After participants complete the training/education portion and earn a credential, they can remain in the Skills for Life program for up to two additional months while Detroit at Work helps them search for long-term, full-time employment that pays at least $17/hour. 

Wage rates will vary based on the role. If you are already working for the City in one of the designated roles your pay will not be reduced if it is higher than the rates listed below.  The same wage per hour will be paid for work hours as well as for educational/training hours.  
Blight Remediation Technician (TASS)     $15 or current (whichever is greater) 
Environmental Technician      $15 or current (whichever is greater) 

The supports provided to Skills for Life participants include: 

  • Individual career planning and coaching and mentoring
  • Direct financial assistance 
  • Transportation assistance 
  • Connection to childcare services 
  • Help with getting work clothing and tools 
  • Connection with physical and mental health services 
  • Connection to housing support 

For reference: Below is a slide shared at several community meetings in December 2021.  

Skills For Life Summary