Are you ready for the challenge?

Challenge Detroit is a year-long, multidisciplinary fellowship program that cultivates diverse, innovative, emerging and existing, community-minded leaders from the City of Detroit and across the country, fostering their talents to support local initiatives that move Detroit forward.

How to become a Fellow

The standard application for the 2021-2022 class of Fellows is now closed. You can sign up to be notified when the 2022-2023 Fellowship Application opens by completing our interest form here.

Note: The information and details below have not been updated for the 2022-2023 application cycle and program year. We will update this information closer to when our application opens. In the meantime, if you have questions please email [email protected]

Who we are looking for

Candidates who:

  • ARE LOOKING FOR A JOB and will have a minimum of a Bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution by the time the program begins in September 2021 (Standard Applicant).
  • ALREADY HAVE A JOB, have at least a Bachelor’s degree and approval to participate from their employer in the Metro Detroit area (Internal Applicant).
  • ALREADY HAVE A JOB IN THE COMMUNITY SPACE and will have a high school diploma/GED and relevant work experience by September 2021 and approval to participate from their employer in the Metro Detroit area (Community Leader Fellow Applicant).
  • are from the City of Detroit, surrounding areas, the state of Michigan and beyond.
  • represent a diverse range of race, ethnicity, gender identity, orientation, thought, experience, perspective and ability.
  • are passionate, dedicated, proactive, hard-working, innovative, adaptable and have a growth mindset.
  • speak, read and write in English fluently—all programs are conducted in English (candidates with proficiency in more than one language are welcome!).
  • are U.S. citizens or are authorized to work in the United States for the duration of the program (Sept 2021 to Aug 2022).*

*Challenge Detroit is unable to assist with employment authorization or visa sponsorship.

Click here to see our full list of requirements.

Your educational/professional background

We are seeking candidates with a wide variety of education, skills, and expertise including, but not limited to:

  • Accounting/Finance/Statistics/Economics
  • Architecture/Landscape Architecture/Interior Design
  • Business/Management/Entrepreneurship/Sales
  • Construction Management
  • Communications/PR/Marketing/Advertising/Journalism
  • Community Development
  • Education/Education Administration
  • Engineering (architectural, civil, mechanical, automotive)
  • Graphic Design/Design/Creative
  • Health/Health Administration/Public Health/Counseling
  • Human Resources/Organizational Behavior
  • Information/Tech/Coding/Software Engineering
  • Policy/Law
  • Public Administration/Nonprofits
  • Social Work/Family & Child Development
  • Urban Planning/Urban Studies
  • Video Production and more!

What you’ll experience

As a Fellow, you will:

  • have the opportunity to live,* work, play, give and lead in and around the city;
  • gain valuable leadership, project management and team-building skills through a multi-faceted leadership development program;
  • learn and leverage the art of design thinking;
  • collaborate with multiple Detroit-based nonprofits to support them in moving their missions forward through various strategic, community-focused projects;
  • connect with and form meaningful relationships with the broader Challenge Detroit community as well as your cohort;
  • gain access to cultural and professional events;
  • receive a $38,000** annual salary plus benefits typical of your host company; and
  • join a network of over 270 Fellows and alumni!

*Challenge Detroit does not provide financial assistance with relocation or provide a housing stipend.

**If you already have a job, your employer will determine your salary.

How to apply if you are seeking a job

  • When completing your application, simply select the “Standard” application type

How to apply if you already have a job

  • Select the “Internal” application type, OR
  • Select the “Community Leader Fellow” application type if you work in the community space and will have a high school diploma/GED and relevant work experience by September 2021.

What we expect

As a Fellow, you will:

  • work at your host company from Monday-Thursday* and on Fridays participate in Challenge Detroit programming;
  • contribute innovative thinking and intellectual capital to philanthropic efforts in the city and region;
  • become an integral part of the Challenge Detroit community, as an active participant in initiatives, mentorship and programming;
  • collaborate with other Challenge Detroit Fellows, alumni and the community at large;
  • demonstrate professionalism, integrity, and leadership abilities;
  • commit one full year to the program (September to the end of August);
  • be willing to document experiences in a variety of formats including social media, video and blogs; and
  • work closely with multi-disciplinary teams on various challenge projects.

*Schedule may vary; based on employer.

Still want to know more? Click here to read our FAQs.

The Application Process

  • Fellowship Application

    You will submit a basic application along with a one-page resume*, essay response and a 60-second application video. You will also be asked for an optional reference. A community review team consisting of leaders from various industries, host companies and Challenge Detroit leadership will select candidates to invite to move forward. If selected to be a Finalist, you will be invited to the Virtual Interview Experience (VIE).

    *If applicable to your industry (architecture, graphic design, etc.), you will also be asked to submit your portfolio link.

  • The Virtual Interview Experience

    If invited to be a Finalist, you will join us for a two-day Virtual Interview Experience (VIE) where you will interview with our host companies, hear from current and alumni Fellows, and learn more about the city and our program.

    Following the VIE, Challenge Detroit leadership will work with the host companies to determine final job placements. Participation in the Interview Experience is required for standard candidates.

Commitment to Diversity, Equity & Inclusion

Diversity, equity and inclusion are a cornerstone of Challenge Detroit. We believe that all persons are entitled to equal opportunity. We do not discriminate against qualified applicants because of race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, pregnancy, breastfeeding or related medical condition, national origin, ancestry, citizenship, age, marital status, physical or mental disability, genetic characteristic, military or veteran status, or any other characteristic protected by state or federal law. We strive to create and support a culture where people can be themselves and feel included while including others. We value a diverse representation of individuals from near and far, across races and ethnicities, gender experience and orientation, skills, experience and abilities. Diversity of thought and perspective are essential to our work.