(FLINT, MICH.) More Flint-area teens will have an opportunity for employment this summer, as a result of $875,000 in grants awarded to support the 2013 Summer Youth Initiative (SYI).  SYI is a program of the Flint & Genesee Chamber of Commerce, which connects well-prepared teens to summer jobs.  The Charles Stewart Mott Foundation awarded $825,000 to the Genesee Area Focus Fund.  The Focus Fund is a non-profit fundraising arm of the Chamber.

SYI helps more than 400 teens prepare for and connect with job opportunities in a number of fields. These include working as day camp counselors for young children; performing general office duties; helping other young people develop their reading skills; and assisting with beautification, gardening and library programs. Participants also volunteer at least one day during the summer at various community-based programs.

“The C.S. Mott Foundation has funded a summer jobs program for the past 17 years with the understanding that working during the summer not only keeps teenagers engaged in learning, but gives them an opportunity to forge new relationships with adults and potential employers,” said Neal R. Hegarty, Vice President – Programs at the Mott Foundation.

“Connecting kids with paying jobs requires the help of the entire community and we are grateful for the partnerships with the Chamber and area nonprofits and businesses that make this program possible,” added Hegarty.

The Focus Fund also received a $50,000 grant from the Ruth Mott Foundation to support SYI.

The funding for SYI includes support for TeenQuest, a five-week after school pre-employment and leadership training program for teens ages 14-18.  The program, offered year-round and also managed by the Chamber, teaches participants the basics of teamwork, business etiquette, work ethics, communication, goal setting and conflict resolution.  The program is a pre-requisite for young people participating in SYI.

“The generous support of the C.S. Mott Foundation and all of our other funders allows us to provide important opportunities for Flint and Genesee County teens,” said Tim Herman, CEO of the Chamber.  “SYI and TeenQuest have significant impact on the lives of area teens by giving them the tools to be successful in the workplace, school and in their personal lives.

“Thousands of Genesee County youth have been employed through SYI since the program’s inception.  Funding support from organizations such as C.S. Mott and Ruth Mott has enabled us to offer both programs free of charge, which opens the program to teens across the county, preparing them for college and the workforce of the future.”

For more information about TeenQuest or SYI contact Rhetta Hunyady, Vice President of Education and Training for the Chamber at (810) 600-1412 or rhunyady@flintandgenesee.org.

Media contacts:      

Elaine Redd Flint & Genesee Chamber (810) 600-1418

Regina Strong, APR Flint & Genesee Chamber (810) 600-1421

About the Flint & Genesee Chamber of Commerce

The Flint & Genesee Chamber of Commerce (flintandgenesee.org) is one of the Top 10 largest chambers in Michigan based on revenue and number of members.  We are the voice of business and community advocacy in Flint & Genesee. The 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 Chamber as it enters its second century of service: collaboration and partnership. It is our goal to work with government, business, education, nonprofit organizations and consumers 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.