Informational Session will be Held Feb. 4

(FLINT, Mich., Jan. 20, 2015) – The invitations are in the mail for teens to attend an exclusive summer job fair. Now all that’s needed are the employers to give them jobs.

The Flint & Genesee Chamber of Commerce is seeking companies interested in hiring graduates of its TeenQuest program for employment this summer.

TeenQuest is a pre-employment and leadership program for Flint & Genesee high school students ages 14-18. Graduates of the program are eligible to seek employment through the invitation-only Summer Youth Initiative (SYI) job fair.

SYI matches employers with hundreds of TeenQuest graduates for summer employment. Nonprofit organizations and businesses that hire TeenQuest graduates are eligible to have 50 percent to 100 percent of costs subsidized. For-profit businesses receive a 50-50 salary match for SYI employees.

“Our SYI employers consistently tell us that TeenQuest graduates are open-minded, well-prepared and hard-working,” said Rhetta Hunyady, Vice President of Education and Training, Flint & Genesee Chamber. “They see the partnership the same way we do – as a win-win.”

Companies and organizations can respond to a Request for Proposal (RFP) for 2015 work sites. An informational session will be held at 9 a.m. Wednesday, Feb. 4, at the Mott Dining Room in the Chamber offices in downtown Flint, 519 S. Saginaw St.

Those unable to attend the Feb. 4 session can request a private technical assistance meeting and review of their draft proposal. The RFP deadline is March 27.

TeenQuest is a five-week training program designed to help Flint & Genesee youths prepare for success. Students learn the basics of teamwork, business etiquette, work ethics, communication, goal setting and conflict resolution.

Both TeenQuest and SYI have proven especially valuable to Genesee County teens in a time when summer jobs for young people have seen a significant decline. A report released last week by JP Morgan Chase & Co. reveals that worldwide, youth unemployment rates are at or near historic highs.

In the United States, young people are experiencing Depression-era levels of employment, according to the report, and only 46 percent of young people who applied for summer employment programs were enrolled in 2014.

Here in Genesee County, past SYI employers have included schools, summer day camps, urban gardening and community beautification projects, general office settings, retail and food service.

Last summer, 617 youths ages 14-18 were employed through SYI, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources , the Workforce Investment Act (WIA) and some for-profit businesses.

For more information regarding SYI and hiring TeenQuest graduates, contact Hunyady at rhunyady@flintandgenesee.org or (810) 600-1412.

About the Summer Youth Initiative and TeenQuest

The Summer Youth Initiative is a program that helps Flint-area teens find paid summer jobs. It’s open to students who’ve completed the TeenQuest afterschool program, which provides pre-employment and leadership training to students ages 14 to 19 to help them succeed in college and the 21st century workplace. In 2014, 630 teens gained experience and a paycheck working for 21 local businesses and agencies. Both programs are administered by the Genesee Area Focus Fund, a supporting organization of the Flint & Genesee Chamber of Commerce, with support from the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation. To apply or learn more, visit www.flintandgenesee.org/learn/syi/.