Over 200 students joined the ranks of 2,870 TeenQuest Alumni

TeenQuest Graduation March 29, 2012 Asia Johnson, of Flint Northern High School, receives a hug from a TeenQuest facilitator after receiving her diploma from the organization Thursday night in Flint. About 200 high school students from the Flint area convened with their families to celebrate their graduation from the program, which helps train the teens for employment.

(FLINT, Mich.)  Today, over 200 Flint-Genesee County teens graduated from TeenQuest, an after school pre-employment and leadership training program. The graduation was held at the Riverfront Banquet Center in downtown Flint where hundreds of proud parents, other family members and friends gathered in celebration. This concludes the fourth TeenQuest session this year.

Managed by the Flint & Genesee Chamber of Commerce, TeenQuest sessions run for five weeks. During that time, the students learn about leadership and occupational skills to youth ages 14-18 years old. Participants learn how to collaborate with a team, understand business etiquette and how to resolve workplace conflicts through the program designed to gain a “leg up” on what it takes to succeed and lead in the business world.

Students who complete the TeenQuest program are eligible to participate in job interviews and compete for jobs during the annual Summer Youth Initiative (SYI) Job Fair.

“TeenQuest and Summer Youth Initiative are excellent examples of how we invest in our youth in the Flint-Genesee County community,” said Tim Herman, CEO of the Regional Chamber.

“When we invest in our youth today we ensure the well-being and productivity of future generations for decades to come,” said Herman.

“The TeenQuest experience taught me that I can handle any work situation,” said TeenQuest graduate Santiara Henry. “I’m ready to try and put the skills I learned into action.”

Rhetta Hunyady, Group Vice President of Operations and Employer Education and Training connection, cites the employment opportunities available to TeenQuest graduates as one of many ways that students benefit from the program.

“TeenQuest graduates lean how to be leaders,” said Hunyady. “This recent graduating class is ready to meet the challenges of the work world. They will definitely gain benefits from learning the skills needed for success in the workplace and in life.”

In 2011, TeenQuest graduated 585 teens and 412 were hired through the SYI Job Fair. Twenty two local businesses and nonprofits hired SYI students in jobs such as day camp counselors, reading assistants, beatification and library projects, as well as office and restaurant duties.

The Regional Education and Training Connection group provides educational and leadership training programs for young people and business education programs for employers and their workforce.

About the Flint & Genesee Chamber of Commerce

The Flint & Genesee Chamber of Commerce (www.flintandgenesee.org) is the voice of business and community advocacy in Genesee County. The Regional Chamber is over 100 years old, was established before the Michigan Chamber of Commerce and is a founding member of the United States Chamber of Commerce.

Two words describe the Regional Chamber as it enters its second century of service: collaboration and partnership. It is our goal to work with government, business, education and nonprofit organizations to support the growth and development of the community economically, culturally and socially.

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. 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/teenquest.