ARE YOU READY TO MAKE AN IMPACT?

You’re here because you want to contribute in Detroit and grow your career. If you are seeking a year-long full-time, paid job that comes with a unique opportunity to make an impact, build community, grow as a leader, develop skills, connect with mentors and local leaders, we invite you to learn more below.

 


 

If you would like to be notified when the application for the 2025-2026 program year opens, please sign up for our interest list.

“My Challenge Detroit experience connected me to a field of work I never expected... If it wasn’t for Challenge Detroit I don’t think I would've thought my creative skills would be suitable [in community development]. Best decision I made out of college was to apply.”

— JeNiece Freeman-Holt Alumni Fellow

"Challenge Detroit gives you access. The most valuable part of my experience was taking advantage of the facilitated connections to a wide array of people, projects, and events in the city."

— Mikayla Cutlip Alumni Fellow

"I can truly say that Challenge Detroit provided a space for me to learn, grow and present as my true self."

— Dillon Brown Alumni Fellow

“Challenge Detroit allowed me to continue serving the community while growing and learning in a new professional space. I am grateful to Challenge Detroit for connecting me with my host company, where I was able to try out different roles, learn at my own pace and with the support of my team, and pivot my career to something drastically different than what I started out doing.”

— Kristen Chu Alumni Fellow

“Challenge Detroit has provided me with a unique experience as a young professional that will be hard to replicate, and impossible to forget. The lessons I’ve learned from my host company have complemented the perspectives I’ve gained from Fridays at Challenge Detroit. The two combined have served as a robust platform for me to grow professionally in ways that I could not have imagined before the program began.”

— Adit Ahmed Alumni Fellow

The challenge projects are great for exposure to different sectors, people and areas of impact in a quick amount of time. Not all of us have a linear career path - [Challenge Detroit] offers an opportunity to learn about different experiences and connect with different people to help guide our paths.

— Yesenia Castaneda Alumni Fellow

“Through Challenge Detroit, I was able to understand the deep commitment of Detroit's non-profit community to creating a more equitable city. I worked with partners who are committed to supporting Black businesses, changing economic ecosystems in the city, and transforming education for Detroit's children. In one year, I got to develop my own professional skills while seeing the impact of the important work that Detroiters have been doing for years.”

— Albi Taipi Alumni Fellow

“Challenge Detroit pushed me outside of my comfort zone, allowing me to learn new skills and providing me with an opportunity to move into a new and unexpected role at my host company once my fellowship year was over. I'm now a well-rounded marketing professional, with experience on both the creative and client services side of the field! I owe all of that to Challenge Detroit.”

— Athena Mishiyev Alumni Fellow

“The fellowship has opened doors for me that I never knew existed, and put my name in places I never stepped foot in due to the work that we are doing with the community.”

— Khalil Davis Alumni Fellow

“Challenge Detroit has been my most beautiful surprise. As a young person returning to Detroit during such a chaotic time as the Covid-19 pandemic, this fellowship gave me structure, access to the city’s leadership, an opportunity to effect change, and a new family. I will always value this experience.”

— Madeline Miller Alumni Fellow

“Challenge Detroit is really unique compared to other fellowships in that they really help position you and give you a pathway to continue your work after the fellowship. It doesn't feel like a one and done thing. Once you're done with your year, you're still extremely connected with both the fellows that you were with, and also with the companies (and organizations) that are working with Challenge Detroit. It was able to grow my network by like tenfold.”

— Alexandra Borromeo Alumni Fellow

What You'll Do

Learn what a meaningful year as a Fellow looks like!

This is more than just a job! In this unique opportunity, you will:

  • Work at one of our host companies Monday – Thursday (typically during regular business hours, though some organizations have varying schedules).
  • Participate in Fellowship programming every Friday with your cohort. You will collaborate with local nonprofits on strategic, intellectually-based, community-focused challenge projects and participate in leadership development programming.
  • Cultivate your network, develop and refine your skills, build friendships, and enjoy our city and its neighborhoods throughout the program year.

Learn more about the fellowship year here.

Why you should apply

Learn about the many benefits of the fellowship opportunity, from social to career, personal development and more!

As a Challenge Detroit Fellow, you will:

  • Collaborate with multiple Detroit-based partner nonprofits on strategic, intellectually-based, community-focused projects to support them in moving their missions forward
  • Gain knowledge and experience in various areas of impact in an accelerated time frame
  • Learn and leverage the art of design thinking (human-centered design) and community development best practices
  • Develop valuable leadership, project management and team-building skills through a multi-faceted leadership development program
  • Grow your career at your host company and learn about different sectors and industries
  • Acquire a better understanding of the city by learning about the history of Detroit, how it has impacted the region, and about various neighborhoods in the city
  • Cultivate meaningful relationships with your motivated and innovative cohort and the broader Challenge Detroit community
  • Connect with local leaders, thinkers and doers from various sectors and industries
  • Join the network of over 300 alumni Fellows who continue to engage and support the program as well as contribute in their communities
  • Receive a $43,000 annual salary when you apply for our Standard Track*, plus variable benefits typical of the employer you match with (Internal and Community Leader track applicants receive a discretionary salary from their employers)

*Standard Track applicants are candidates who will have a bachelor’s by the end of August 2025 and are looking to be paired with a host company. Internal and Community Leader Track applicants are candidates who already have a job and approval from their current employer to participate as a Fellow. If you are interested in being an Internal or Community Leader track applicant, please email [email protected] for more details.

WHO WE ARE LOOKING FOR

Read about our qualifications and requirements to determine if this is the right opportunity for you.

We are looking for candidates from the City of Detroit, surrounding areas, the state of Michigan and beyond, who represent a diverse range of race/ethnicity, gender identity, orientation, thought, experience, educational backgrounds, perspective and ability. The most successful candidates are passionate about community, dedicated, proactive, hard-working, innovative, adaptable and have a growth mindset.

All applicants must:

  • Be able to read and communicate in written and spoken English fluently—all materials are in English and programs are conducted in English (candidates with proficiency in more than one language are welcome).
  • Be in or be able to relocate to the City of Detroit or greater Detroit area and be able to commute to various locations within the City of Detroit regularly for the duration of the program.
  • Be able to commit to a full-time opportunity for the duration of the program, Monday – Friday.
  • Be authorized* to work in the U.S. for the duration of the program (Sept 2025-Aug 2026).
  • Meet our full list of requirements ( Standard Track Requirements | Internal/Community Leader Track Requirements )

*Challenge Detroit is unable to assist with visa sponsorship, relocation or immigration.

OUR PROCESS & TIMELINE

After you apply, what happens next? Learn about our process and timeline/key dates.

  • Online Application | Will Open Winter 2025

    Complete a basic online application with short answer questions, and submit a one-page resume (plus a portfolio link if typical in your industry). Click here to view our application tips and guidelines.

  • Application Review | Rolling

    Challenge Detroit leadership, our host companies, and a community review team, will review each application and select candidates to invite to move forward.

  • Finalist Notification | Rolling

    Candidates who have been selected as Finalists are typically notified 2-3 weeks prior to the interviews on a rolling basis.

  • Finalist Interviews | TBD

    Finalists will interview with our host companies/potential employers and Challenge Detroit Leadership, hear from current and alumni Fellows, connect with other candidates and learn more about the city and our program. Participation in the interview is required for standard track candidates.

    Becoming a Finalist and participating in the interviews does not guarantee that a candidate will be hired and placed as a Fellow as multiple candidates are being considered for each role.

  • Placements | Rolling

    Following the interviews, Challenge Detroit leadership will work with the host companies while also putting into consideration candidate feedback to determine final job placements. Challenge Detroit will notify candidates whether or not they are matched with an employer and accepted into the program on a rolling basis.

  • Fellowship Program | Starting September

    The program year will begin in September 2025 and finish at the end of August 2026. Learn more about what the year as a Fellow will be like here.

  • Sign up for our interest list here, to be notified when the application for our next cycle opens.