GRow1000 Youth Employment Program

GRow1000 Logo

GRow1000 was launched the summer of 2020 in response to the global COVID-19 pandemic and ongoing racial and economic disparities. City Manager Mark Washington called on business and community leaders to help mitigate these effects by employing 1,000 young people during the summer. Over the last four summers, the GRow1000 program has nearly 1,000 youth in meaningful jobs at unique job sites at area businesses, nonprofit organizations, higher education institutions and government.


This summer young people ages 15 to 24 will have the opportunity to explore a career and obtain valuable work experience while earning money. Pay for all work assignments will be $13.00/per hour. 

The first day employees will report to work is Monday, June 10th. The last day employees will report to work is Friday, July 19th. Program participants will be matched with employers for a 6-week, 120-hour, paid work experience. Through this experience, area businesses and organizations will introduce youth to real-world work environments, provide mentorship and create pathways to future careers.

The GRow1000 2024 Application is now closed.

Please continue to check this website for updates and information to participate in GRow1000 in the future!

Program Highlights

The GRow1000 Program will continue to institute a series of weekly training seminars each Friday throughout the length of the program called GRow Further Fridays. Each session is designed to teach youth participants professional development topics such as Dressing for Success, Public Speaking and Financial Literacy. 

In addition to the GRow Further Friday professional development sessions, other new implementations will include:

  • Easy, two-step weekly timesheet submissions for both employees and employers.
  • On-site visits by Our Community’s Children staff and GRow1000 Mentors.
  • Electronic GRow1000 Employer feedback forms.
  • Collaborative GRow1000 End of Program Celebration.
  • And much more..

The GRow1000 Academy will also facilitate another cohort in the Fall of 2024 with professional development training for youth ages 18-24. This academy promotes long-term employment thanks in part to a grant from Bank of America. Check back soon for more updates!

The City of Grand Rapids Human Resources Department is also hosting in-person Onboarding Paperwork Help sessions on the following dates. Our Community's Children staff, along with participating GRow1000 employers, will also host a Meet-and-Greet style "GRowcase" event simultaneously allowing youth participants to learn more about potential employers and work assignments during the program.

  • Monday, April 22nd at Grand Rapids City Hall Commission Chambers - 9th Floor 4 p.m. - 5:30 p.m.
  • Wednesday, May 1st at Grand Rapids City Hall Commission Chambers - 9th Floor 4 p.m. - 5:30 p.m.

Pre-Employment Orientation Sessions

All GRow1000 Participants must attend 1 of the following Pre-Employment Orientation Session dates: 

- Wednesday May 29th – 4 p.m. - 6:30 p.m. (City Commission Chambers)

- Thursday May 30th – 4 p.m. - 6:30 p.m. (City Commission Chambers)

- Monday June 3rd – 4 p.m. - 6:30 p.m. (City Commission Chambers)

Orientation sessions are by invite only. Participants will receive an email inviting them to attend their assigned orientation date. Call Our Community's Children at (616) 456-3102 if you have not received an email about orientation Friday, May 24th. 

Current GRow1000 2024 Employers include:

  • 61st District Court
  • Autocam Medical
  • Baxter Neighborhood Association
  • Brookelyn's Thrifty Threads
  • Butterball Farms
  • Cascade Engineering
  • City of Grand Rapids - Assessor's Office
  • City of Grand Rapids - Community Services
  • City of Grand Rapids - Development Center
  • City of Grand Rapids - Facilities & Maintenance
  • City of Grand Rapids - Our Community's Children
  • City of Grand Rapids - Parks and Recreation
  • City of Grand Rapids - Water Dept.
  • City of Rest GR
  • Corewell Health
  • Creston Neighborhood Association
  • Dewpoint
  • Downtown Grand Rapids, Inc (Block by Block)
  • First Tee West Michigan
  • Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park
  • Girls Choral Academy
  • Grand Rapids Children's Museum
  • Grand Rapids Housing Commission
  • Grand Rapids Public Library
  • Grandville Avenue Arts & Humanities
  • Heartside Gleaning
  • Hope Gain Network
  • In The Image
  • KConnect
  • Mobile GR
  • NIA Centre
  • Oakdale Neighbors
  • Public Thread
  • Puertas Abiertas
  • STEM Greenhouse
  • West Grand Neighborhood Association
  • Young Money Finances

... And many more to come!