Are you ready for the challenge?

The Challenge Detroit Fellowship program is a year-long opportunity for diverse, innovative, community-minded individuals to grow their careers, strengthen their leadership skills, build relationships, and gain experience in multiple areas of impact while contributing to Detroit’s vibrant communities through intellectual giving.

Now accepting EARLY APPLICATIONS for the 2023-2024 program year through December 8, 2022, 11:59pm (ET). Click here to apply.


The Application Process

  • Online Fellowship Application | Early Applications Due December 8, 2022, 11:59pm (ET)
    All applications due date TBD

    Complete a basic online application and submit a one-page resume*, essay response and a 60-second application video by our deadline. Click here to view our application tips and guidelines.

  • Application Review | Rolling
    Challenge Detroit leadership, our host companies, and a community review team consisting of leaders from various industries, will review each application and select candidates to invite to move forward.
  • Finalist Notification | Rolling
    Candidates who have been selected will be notified about at least 3-4 weeks prior to the VIE on a rolling basis.
  • The Virtual Interview Experience (VIE) | June 7-8, 2023
    Candidates who have been selected will join us for a two-day Virtual Interview Experience (VIE) where they will interview with our host companies/potential employers, hear from current and alumni Fellows, and learn more about the city and our program. Participation in the VIE is required for standard candidates.
  • Placements** | Starting Mid June (Rolling)
    Following the VIE, Challenge Detroit leadership will work with the host companies and take into consideration candidate feedback to determine final job placements. Challenge Detroit will notify candidates of their placement and acceptance into the program on a rolling basis. The program year will begin in September 2023 and culminate at the end of August 2024.

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

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

*You must have employment with a host company to be a Fellow as your host company provides your salary and benefits, and sponsors your participation in the program.


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.

While we are looking for candidates with backgrounds in business, communications, marketing, public affairs/public relations, public policy, HR, finance/accounting, graphic design/design, real estate development, architecture/construction, urban planning, IT/coding/computer engineering, social work, education, entrepreneurship, youth development, nonprofit management, public administration, sports administration and hospitality, we welcome motivated candidates with expertise and experience in other fields. 

There are three (3) applicant types that candidates fall into*:

  • Standard Applicant: individuals 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
  • Internal Applicant: individuals who already have a job, and will have at least a Bachelor’s degree and the approval to participate from their employer in the Metro Detroit area**
  • Community Leader Fellow (CLF) Applicant: individuals who already have a job in the community space and will have a high school diploma/GED and relevant work experience by the time the program begins, and approval to participate from their employer in the Metro Detroit area**

*Regardless of a candidates applicant type, once candidates are selected to be a Fellow, they become a part of the same cohort and have access to the same resources.

**Internal and CLF Candidates must have approval from their employer to participate. Click here to learn about the commitment required for host companies.

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 the Metro-Detroit area and able to commute to the City of Detroit regularly once they become a Fellow.
  • be U.S. citizens OR are authorized to work in the United States for the duration of the program (Sept 2023 to Aug 2024).**
  • meet our full list of requirements which can be viewed by clicking here.

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


Monday-Thursday: Fellows gain valuable career skills through employment at one of our host companies—from large corporations to small businesses, nonprofits, public-serving organizations, and everything in between. To get an idea of where our Fellows work, check out the list of companies we are partnering with for the 2022-2023 program year here. To see previous host companies click here. Host companies for the 2023-2024 program year have yet to be confirmed.

Every Friday: Fellows engage in the program by working together and collaborating with local nonprofits—our Challenge Project partners—on innovative challenges designed to move their missions forward. Fellows also engage in leadership development sessions designed to develop each Fellow’s skills.

As a Challenge Detroit Fellow, you will:

  • develop valuable leadership, project management and team-building skills through a multi-faceted leadership development program;
  • gain knowledge and experience in various areas of impact in an accelerated time frame;
  • grow your career at your host company and learn about different sectors and industries;
  • learn and leverage the art of design thinking and community development best practices;
  • collaborate with multiple Detroit-based nonprofits on strategic, intellectually-based, community-focused projects to support them in moving their missions forward;
  • 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 cohort and the broader Challenge Detroit community;
  • connect with mentors and gain access to local leaders who have an interest in your success;
  • join the network of over 300 alumni Fellows who continue to engage and support the program as well as contribute in their communities; and
  • receive a $43,000 annual salary** plus benefits typical of your host company.

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

The Commitment:

  • Commit to one full year to the program (September to the end of August in the following year);
  • Be open to learning and approaching the year with a beginners mindset;
  • Demonstrate integrity, empathy, humility, responsibility and accountability;
  • Become an integral part of the Challenge Detroit community, as an active participant in initiatives, mentorship and programming;
  • Be willing to document experiences in a variety of formats including social media, video and blogs;
  • Work closely with multi-disciplinary teams of Fellows and collaborate with partners on various challenge projects; and
  • Represent your host company and Challenge Detroit while working in the community.

Click here to watch a video of reflections from our alumni and partners.