Meijer doubles commitment to GRow 1000 program

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The GRow 1000 program offers Grand Rapids youth the opportunity to gain valuable work experience from a six-week, 120-hour paid summer internship. Courtesy Meijer

Meijer announced it is planning to hire 100 Grand Rapids youth and young adults as part of the GRow 1000 summer internship program.

The retailer also will be donating $200,000 to the program to fund 100 additional paid internships at local nonprofit organizations and small businesses.

“We know that building future leaders in our communities begins today,” Meijer President and CEO Rick Keyes said. “Hands-on work experience can make a big impact on a young person’s career path, and we are pleased to be able to offer that opportunity to 200 Grand Rapids young people this summer whether their interests lie in retail or elsewhere.”

The city of Grand Rapids launched the GRow 1000 program last summer in response to the COVID-19 pandemic as a way of addressing racial and economic disparities and giving young people the opportunity to get paid work experience. The program asks local business and community leaders to hire young adults, ages 15-24, for the summer.

In 2020, Meijer hired 50 participants and trained them in the fundamentals of retail, as well as in professional development skills like résumé writing.

“We’re showing the community that we care about them and that we aren’t forgetting anybody,” said Meijer team leader Rufeeshia Black, who served as a mentor in 2020 to the student participants in her store. “We want them to be part of the store. They are what makes this company better.”

In the program’s first year, Meijer also funded the salaries of 50 additional interns at local nonprofits that could not afford to pay the participants for their work but that offered significant hands-on learning opportunities. This year’s donation will double the number of internships funded by the retailer.

The GRow 1000 program offers Grand Rapids youth the opportunity to gain valuable work experience from a six-week, 120-hour paid summer internship.

For more details on how to sign up as a participant or employer in the program, click here. The deadline is April 30.

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