Detroit hit rock bottom when it filed for bankruptcy. But, unlike the perpetually distraught city of Flint, Detroit is making a comeback. This comeback is due in large part to private investors and philanthropists who recognize the opportunity to revitalize the city.
Detroit is experiencing a technical revolution but there aren’t enough experienced people to fill the positions. Training people to be prepared for these jobs will fuel Detroit’s rebirth.
Grand Circus is filling that need right in the heart of Detroit. Funded largely by Detroit Venture Partners, Grand Circus provides training, hosts events and co-working space. The central focus is providing training for people to acquire skills in software and web development.
Grand Circus is also working with high schools to give students the opportunity to go through an in depth eight week technical program, which the students would otherwise not receive.
There is a 10 week course which guarantees a job afterwards as a developer. The schedule doesn’t allow the students to work, so they receive a $1,000 a month stipend to help lessen that burden.
It’s important to point out that Grand Circus is funded by grants from the private sector. This gives them autonomy and driven investors who expect results. Only a year old, it has proven to be a very important part of Detroit’s rebirth.
One name that is heard repeatedly regarding Detroit’s renewal is Dan Gilbert. As a driving force behind Detroit Venture Partners, he is involved in Grand Circus as well.
Even the location is rather symbolic. Grand Circus is housed in Broderick Tower. It used to be the second tallest building in Detroit but was abandoned for decades. At one time it was the pride of Detroit but became an embarrassment when the tower was abandoned. Much like the city, Broderick Tower is now alive as Grand Circus occupies the bottom three floors.
Co Working allows entrepreneurs to have a location at a low cost. The shared working space provides more professional and private setting than working in a coffee house. $400 a month will provide with a dedicated work space. $250 is the cost for a floating space, which could change to a different desk daily. There are meeting rooms as well in case meetings with clients were needed.
Grand Circus is a hub of community, technology and education. And it’s impact on the community is obvious as it is opening doors for students and companies who need properly trained employees to grow their business and rebuild Detroit.