There are jobs for 75 teens this summer thanks to a $235,000 grant from the Michigan Department of Natural Resources to the Flint & Genesee Chamber of Commerce.
The grant is part of a program from the State of Michigan that aims to introduce youth who live in Flint, Detroit, Pontiac and Saginaw to outdoor career opportunities and experiences. Locally, the state partners with the Chamber’s Summer Youth Initiative program, which connects graduates of the TeenQuest pre-employment program to area employers.
The teens will have outdoor-related assignments at 11 local organizations, including Asbury Community Development Corp., IMA Brookwood Golf Club, City of Flint, Fighting Blight in My City, Genesee County Parks, Greater Holy Temple, Kearsley Lake Golf Course, Mass Transportation Authority, Second Chance Ministries, Swartz Creek Golf Course and Uptown Reinvestment Corp. By the end of the summer, each worker will have 200 to 300 hours of on-the-job experience.
“The Michigan DNR is an invaluable partner to the Chamber in our efforts to support youth and we are thankful for their generosity,” says Tim Herman, CEO, Flint & Genesee Chamber. “With their support, the Chamber is better able to help local teens gain on-the-job experiences and explore new career paths. This is a great example of how partnerships between businesses, community organizations and state leaders can develop a competitive workforce in Flint and Genesee County.”
By the time their summer jobs commence this month, the teens will have already completed park maintenance and beautification projects at Holly Recreation Area, Seven Lakes State Park and Covenant Hills Camp and Retreat. This is in addition to participating in a variety of recreational activities while camping at Bald Mountain State Recreation Area near Lake Orion.
“One of the unique components of this program is that it allows teens to try activities they may not be exposed to living in the city – things like camping, fishing and archery,” says Ron Olson, chief of Parks & Recreation for the Michigan DNR. “In doing so, it provides them with the opportunity to diversify their life experiences, which is an important part of growing personally and professionally.”
In total, the Chamber expects to help 375 TeenQuest graduates secure employment this summer through the Summer Youth Initiative and Michigan DNR programs. This comes amidst a competitive job market for Michigan teens, with forecasts predicting a teen unemployment rate of 19.1 percent for the summer of 2018.
For more information about TeenQuest, visit www.flintandgenesee.org/teenquest.