The city of Detroit filed for Chapter 9 bankruptcy in 2013, making it the largest municipal bankruptcy filing in U.S. history. Decades leading up to the event there had been a constant migration of people out of the city, and the bankruptcy further continued that trend. This limited the opportunity within Detroit, forcing people to move out of the metropolitan area. However, organizations like TechTown Detroit (TTD) have opened doors to opportunities for business in the city, helping strengthen Detroit neighborhoods and the local economy.
Although in the years following the bankruptcy filing in 2013, there has been major private investment and development in Detroit, including in the downtown, midtown, riverfront, and Corktown areas, the Covid-19 pandemic had slowed down the recovery that was showing so much promise leading up to 2020. As the local community begins to return from the changes set by the Coronavirus Pandemic, the Detroit economy has also returned to the trends of improvement prior to the epidemic. In addition, TechTown Detroit has been able to make a larger impact on small businesses and startups post pandemic.
As for what my role has been at TechTown so far through the program, I have been a member of the Systems Innovation Team at the organization. My project this summer has been centered around improving the efficiency of the company’s onboarding and offboarding process for new employees. Through interviewing company directors, surveying employees, and talking to peer organizations, my partner, Megan, and I have been able to discover where the programs utilized by TTD during onboarding have become redundant. Prior to beginning our project, Megan and I were informed that because of these redundancies the Systems Innovation budget was being misused during the technical part of onboarding. Through our recommendation, Megan and I hope to improve this process, and in the long run save the SI team tens of thousands of dollars in terms of their budget allocation.
On the surface, my role at TechTown may not seem like the most impactful for the city’s economy, however, looking deeper by making the company’s onboarding process more efficient, less of the budget can be used to train employees and more can be used to support small businesses in Detroit.