Denzel Lane is a 16-year-old student at Cass Technical High School in Detroit. He recently completed his first year (10th grade) in our Workforce Prep program and an internship at General Motors. He’s motivated and thriving.
As a student in our program, Denzel was matched with local businessman Phillip Smith, director, operational technology at DTE Energy, who served as his career mentor. Together they participated in weekly one-hour sessions during which Denzel explored careers and learned important life and job skills.
“Denzel is a bright young man with an even brighter future,” said Phillip. “I am so lucky to get to work with him as his insightful questions and perspectives on life challenge me as much as I try to challenge him.”
“I remember one session where we used a website to learn about different careers,” said Denzel. “I was interested in being a veterinarian or psychologist. And Phillip introduced me to a friend of his who is a vet. It really helped me better understand what I have to do.”
An important part of our program is helping students develop life and job skills they’ll need to be successful. Topics cover a range of subjects including teamwork, branding, and goal setting. For Denzel, our communication sessions proved especially helpful.
“When I entered the Workforce Prep program, I was kind of hardcore,” said Denzel. “I wasn’t really interested in meeting new people or talking to others. And COVID was making everything difficult. Phillip really helped me. He always tried hard to make sure I was okay. He taught me to be myself and wrote a letter to me, encouraging me to not let others bother me. And now I’m a lot more open with people and I’m more positive.”
The GM internship opened Denzel to some new possible career paths. While he still has interest in becoming a veterinarian, he’s also eyeing a career in automotive design.
“I like that I would be designing cars that include new technology. The cars that I would help design would be released in 2030 or 2040, and that would be really cool.”
Denzel will be in the second year of our program during the ’22-23 school year. He will continue to explore his career interests and develop important life and job readiness skills with greater emphasis on continuing education and planning for life after high school.
“COVID has made things really difficult. A lot of kids in my generation are going through depression and failing classes. There’s a lot going on that needs attention. I’m glad I’m in this program.”
Learn more about our seven-year experiential Workforce Prep program.