V’Niecia Dupree had just started attending Benjamin Carson High School of Science and Medicine when her grandfather was diagnosed with cancer. The news was devastating, and V’Niecia’s reaction was a powerful one — she was going to find a cure.
By her sophomore year, her grandfather had made a full recovery, and thanks to our College and Career Pathways program at her school, V’Niecia was also able to take on college courses alongside her high school curriculum. She was set on becoming a doctor.
“I think that everyone should take advantage of the resources that are out there for them — it might be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” V’Niecia said of her experience in the College and Career Pathways program.
The program helped V’Niecia stay on track while learning valuable, real-world skills. It also let her get a head start on working toward her dream. This spring, she completed her freshmen year at Michigan State University.
Tammie Jones, Vice President of Education and Economic Prosperity at United Way for Southeastern Michigan, couldn’t be more thrilled to hear about V’Niecia’s progress.
“It’s always great to hear about a former student doing well,” Tammie says. “It reinforces our belief that students benefit when their education is connected to work-based learning experiences.”
Our College and Career Pathways work is offered in 16 schools throughout the city. It pairs rigorous academics with real-world career training and job shadowing.
One of the ways we do that is through our annual Career Connections Fair, a job fair that assists students in securing summer employment through Grow Detroit’s Young Talent — a citywide summer jobs program that trains and employs metro-Detroit young adults.
Thanks to our corporate partners, students can explore a variety of career booths and participate in workshops and on-site interviews. Almost every student in attendance will walk away with a job.
When V’Niecia attended the fair last year, it only took her 11 minutes to score a job at a local health care clinic.
This year, 800 students have registered and more than 40 career booths, corporate partners and universities will be participating.
V’Niecia has just finished her freshman year at Michigan State University, where she studies human biology and is on track to graduate early. Medical school sits on the horizon. Her hope is to someday attend Howard University and graduate as a pediatric oncologist.
When things get rough, V’Niecia gives her grandpa a call. “Sometimes it gets hard, and he tells me to keep going strong,” she said. “He tells me that he isn’t going anywhere.”
To the students who are currently going through the program, she offers a word of advice: “Stay faithful. I promise it’s only tough until you get the hang of it. Find what keeps you motivated and don’t lose sight of it.”