Flint & Genesee Chamber propels 113 youth toward career readiness

Flint & Genesee Chamber propels 113 youth toward career readiness
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He might not have years of experience at it, but job-hunting doesn’t intimidate Demetrius Noakes.

As a graduate of TeenQuest, the Flint & Genesee Chamber of Commerce’s award-winning work-readiness and life skills program, Noakes is better prepared than many young adults. Interview techniques, financial literacy and other tools are offered to TeenQuest participants, ages 14 to 19.

“Since my son started TeenQuest he’s been dressing up more and carrying himself with more confidence…this program helps our teens be better leaders and builds their self-esteem.” – Howell Moore

Noakes is one of 113 TeenQuest graduates who attended a recent ceremony at Swartz Creek Performing Arts Center after completing the training. The youth will be invited to a private job fair in 2018 as part of the Summer Youth Initiative. Grants from the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation, Ruth Mott Foundation, Hagerman Foundation and other funders support the Summer Youth Initiative’s hiring of young people at for-profit and non-profit organizations.

“I’ve learned a variety of skills, such as business etiquette, application preparation, how to properly fill out a resume, and financial management, which are all skills that I can use home, school and work,” says Noakes.

TeenQuest is held at multiple sites mainly during after-school hours. Noakes attended at the Boys & Girls Club of Greater Flint.

“Something I found useful during TeenQuest were the (mock) interviews,” he says. “Every time I was interviewed I gradually become better and learned what it was I needed to work on.”

Parents including Cynthia Howell Moore were equally enthused about their teenagers’ participation and graduation from the program.

“Since my son started TeenQuest he’s been dressing up more and carrying himself with more confidence,” Howell Moore says. “I believe in this program. It helps our teens to be better leaders. It builds their self-esteem. It’s just a very positive program.”

Rhetta Hunyady, vice president of Education & Training for the Flint & Genesee Chamber, oversees TeenQuest, which has a companion program for younger students, YouthQuest. Hunyady says she’s confident that the recent graduates will make a positive impact in the community.

“These students are ready to meet the challenges of the working world,” Hunyady says. “We look forward to seeing what great things they will go on to do and accomplish.”

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