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Thousands of jobs for Detroit residents as The District Detroit becomes reality.

Workers in The District Detroit

One of the biggest redevelopment projects in the city’s recent history is also one of the biggest opportunities for Detroit residents.

Olympia Development of Michigan’s planned sports and entertainment district, The District Detroit, is a sweeping transformation of neighborhoods between Downtown and Midtown, that will create 8,300 construction and construction-related jobs and 1,100 permanent jobs.

And Detroit residents will fill at least 51 percent of the construction jobs related to the new events center and initial mixed-use development. That’s the commitment made by the Ilitch family, which runs Olympia Development. Detroit residents stand to benefit from the expected $100 million in job-related income from the development.

That pledge means the positive impact from the sports and entertainment district and its thousands of high-wage jobs will be felt throughout the city, says Pamela Moore, president and CEO of Detroit Employment Solutions Corp.

“This is truly something to get excited about,” Moore says. “It’s the biggest employment opportunity focused on the city that we’ve seen in a while. We’ve built stadiums recently, but this is so much more than a new arena.

“We’re talking about an entire district with entertainment, residential and commercial development,” she says. “The scope of this project, along with the inclusion targets set by the Ilitch family, will make a real difference in a city that’s suffered from unemployment and underemployment.”

Job opportunities in Detroit

DESC is working overtime to connect Detroit residents with the project. DESC, a Michigan Works! Agency, offers apprenticeship training and other work-readiness programs for those without experience or certifications.

The DESC has planned an outreach event for October 28 at Cobo Center where job seekers can learn more about the project and connect with potential employers, trainers, community colleges, unions and other local resources.

DESC also will hold outreach events in neighborhoods throughout Detroit.

“Right now we’re trying to find everyone in the city with experience, credentials or both, as well as those interested in skilled trades training,” Moore says. “We have resources and can assist jobseekers in navigating many paths to a career with a living wage, but we need to get people into the pipeline.”

Most of the jobs in the first phase will be in construction and building trades. Many of the permanent jobs will be in hospitality, service, sports and retail.

More investment in Detroit likely

The ambitious scope of the project — redeveloping such a large area with a mix of entertainment, commercial and residential developments — will likely spur more investment and continued job opportunities for Detroiters, Moore says.

“The spin-off development isn’t going to be contained in this one area,” she says. “Even though this particular project focuses on Midtown and Downtown, other areas of the city will feel the benefit.”

That’s why getting Detroit residents connected with training, education, resume writing workshops and apprenticeship programs is so important. A base of residents with in-demand job skills improves the quality of life for the entire city.

“If you learn a skilled trade, for example, an electrician, you have a skill that pays high wages and has job security,” Moore says. “You really become an entrepreneur. These types of jobs change lives for families.”

Detroiters interested in getting more information about these opportunities can call DESC at 313-962-JOBS (9675) or visit

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