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Wheels for Workers creates car-repair career paths

Greg Szczesny knows what it's like to be without a vehicle when you absolutely need one. The Allen Park resident lost his job in 2009 and car trouble didn't do anything but help him in his search for employment.

"I realized how important it was was to have reliable transportation and how difficult it was to maintain it," Szczesny says.

That experience helped inspire him to start Wheels for Workers, a new non-profit focused on helping at-risk youth find careers through car repair. The non-profit, which Szczesny hopes to move to Detroit later this year, teaches teens how to become automotive mechanics while providing hands-on experience in auto repair. Check out a video about the non-profit here.

Szczesny first pitched the idea at last year's Pure Michigan Social Entrepreneurship Challenge, an event focused on triple-bottom-line business creation and growth, and received warm reviews from the judges. He has since worked with Michigan Corps to refine the idea. He also recently finished the BUILD program at downtown Detroit-based D:hive to create a strategic plan.

Wheels for Workers has also received a $2,400 grant from State Farm Insurance. Szczesny plans to re-enter the non-profit in this year’s Pure Michigan Social Entrepreneurship Challenge as a new venture and then in Hatch Detroit to help raise more seed capital, along with other grant money.

"There is a lot of grant money out there for job training," Szczesny says.

Source: Greg Szczesny, managing director & founder of Wheels for Workers
Writer: Jon Zemke
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