January 13, 2016

Every summer, hundreds of Genesee County teens fill hundreds of job openings at local businesses and organizations through the Summer Youth Initiative (SYI). These high school students are graduates of TeenQuest, a five-week afterschool pre-employment training program, and are ideal candidates for a variety of entry level and temporary positions.

“SYI provides the perfect opportunity for businesses and nonprofits to increase their summer workforces at a fraction of their normal hiring costs,” said Rhetta Hunyady, Vice President of Education & Training, Flint & Genesee Chamber of Commerce. “Whether they’re looking to fill six or 66 positions, SYI employers will have a strong applicant pool to choose from.”

As SYI gears up for its Jan. 28 employer information session, Inside Business has highlighted a few ways community partners have utilized the teenaged workers in the past.

Last year, for instance, The Flint Public Library, hired 12 teen workers. Some performed local history research, while others teamed up with librarians to provide off-site story-time services for local youth. All students participated in StoryCorps, which entailed recording the audio history of a family member to be archived at the Library of Congress.

In Davison, Clio and Flint, Michigan Community Services has employed SYI teens to assist with the nonprofit’s day-activity programs with developmentally disabled adults and senior adult daycare. The students lead activities such as arts and crafts and provide additional help during field trips into the community.

At Mr. Rogers Garden Program, the teens work in a functional gardening program, where they are responsible for all phases of the business — from planting to harvest and sale.

Interested in learning about how your business or organization can get involved in this year’s summer program? The Chamber will host an informational meeting about the program and employer application process from 9-10:30 a.m. Jan. 28 at the Chamber office, at 519 S. Saginaw St, Flint.

If you are interested in applying for funding support but are unable to attend the meeting, contact Paula Stainbrook at pstainbrook@flintandgenesee.org.

SYI proposals are due by March 28. For more information, or to download the RFP application, click here.