Westside Detroit native Brandon Brice strives to make a difference for youth through the Exploring Program
Talented workers are in demand across the U.S. and the Exploring program is rising to meet that demand in Metro Detroit and beyond. The program is designed to engage the youth workforce and is aimed at jumpstarting Detroit’s middle class.
About 60 organizations including police and sheriff departments, skilled trades, engineering programs, fire departments and more have partnered with Exploring to get youth interested in various industries, helping create a new generation of skilled workers.
One of the people leading that change is Brandon Brice. Brandon Brice was a boy scout, but it wasn’t until 20 years later that he would rejoin the scouting movement and help lead the Workforce Exploring program in Metro Detroit as its Director.
The Exploring program, an affiliate of the Boy Scouts of America, has been around for 70 years and helps youth lead better lives and get involved in their communities through career Exposure. Brice, born on Detroit’s West Side, earned a Bachelor’s in Business from Howard University and a Master’s in International Affairs from Rutgers University.
He began his career working with the National Urban League’s Economic Opportunity Institute, promoting literacy. Brice says he always understood the importance of being a role-model for youth. He also enjoys helping all people and giving back to the community.
Brice decided to jump on the opportunity to work with young people through the Exploring program, helping Metro Detroit youth begin thinking about their careers and life goals as early as age 12.
He says that the shortage of nurses, physicians and healthcare workers makes it even more evident that youth today should pursue professions in those fields. Brice says COVID 19 will highlight the need for Exploring programs throughout the nation, making sure the upcoming workforce is prepared for the next viral pandemic in ‘hot zone’ cities like Detroit, New York and New Orleans.
“In today’s society, we wait far too long to have the conversation with our children about the careers they may have an interest in,” says Brice. Brice says the students are offered career exposure and get to decide if they want to pursue the industry or not.
The youth’s decision to stay in the program, or not is valued either way. Since 2016, Brice has helped the program grow to over 4,562 youth and counting, being second behind New York’s Boy Scout Council. Brice says they expect to see even more growth by the end of 2020.
“It’s important for Detroit’s future workforce to learn about the various types of career industries, but also to see diversity in those industries – people who resemble them,” says Brice.
The Exploring program, an affiliate of the Boy Scouts of America Great Lakes Field Service Council, starts as early as middle school with a focus on exposing students to careers like aviation, skilled trades, engineering, business, banking and more. “Exploring is Metro Detroit’s best kept secret.
The more students we can help expose to various careers, the closer we are to bridging the gap between the haves and have-nots in Southeast Michigan.”
Detroit Exploring has been trailing behind New York City in terms of annual registered members, but that may not be the case for long. With the current rate of growth, there’s a chance Exploring in Metro Detroit may become the largest BSA-led workforce development program in the U.S.
To learn more about the Exploring Program, you can visit their website at: www.exploring.org.