(FLINT, Mich., Nov. 30, 2015) – After spending five weeks learning about soft skills, leadership development, job attainment and financial literacy, a group of 100 high school students will graduate from the TeenQuest pre-employment training program on Thursday, Dec. 3.
The graduation marks the teens’ successful completion of the program, which is managed by Flint & Genesee Chamber of Commerce.
“With the country’s teen unemployment rate hovering around 15.9 percent, the job market can be quite competitive for high school students,” said Rhetta Hunyady, Vice President of Education & Training at the Chamber. “TeenQuest gives our local teens an advantage when applying and interviewing for jobs. They learn how to ‘stand up and stand out,’ which is important not only in the workplace – but at home and at school as well.”
TeenQuest is available to all Genesee County high school students ages 14-19, whether they attend public, private, charter, alternative or home schools. During the five-week program, participants attend two hours of training each day for four days a week. To graduate from the afterschool program, they also must participate in mock interviews, during which local employers and business professionals serve as volunteer interviewers.
“We practice interviewing during each class, but this is where the rubber meets the road,” Hunyady said. “Our interviewers are looking for good eye contact, firm handshakes and the ability to answer questions in a descriptive, yet concise way. In some cases, these employers have open part-time and entry-level positions, so this could mean potential employment for some of the students.”
The TeenQuest session concluding this week is the second of four sessions held during the 2015-16 school year. The next session will be held Jan. 11 to Feb. 11 at five area locations, including Baker College Academy, Davison High School, Grand Blanc High School, Linden High School and Northwestern Academy.
The free program is a prerequisite for employment through the Summer Youth Initiative (SYI), which matches hundreds of TeenQuest graduates with employers each year. Students who graduate from the current round of sessions will be invited to attend the invite-only SYI job fair in April.
Last summer, more than 400 teens were employed through SYI, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, the Workforce Investment Act (WIA) and some for-profit businesses.
Members of the media are invited to attend the Dec. 3 graduation, which will be held from 6-8 p.m. at Riverfront Banquet Center, 1 W. Riverfront Center, Flint.
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.