$225K Michigan DNR Grant Supports Teens with Outdoor Employment


(FLINT, Mich., July 1, 2019) – The Flint & Genesee Chamber of Commerce today announced the receipt of $225,000 from the Michigan Department of Natural Resources.

The funding—which supports the Michigan DNR’s initiative to introduce youth in urban areas to outdoor career opportunities—facilitates the hiring of 73 teens ages 16-19 who have graduated from the Chamber’s TeenQuest pre-employment training program.

“Over the past eight years, the Michigan DNR has helped us connect hundreds of teens to outdoor job opportunities in Genesee County,” said Tim Herman, CEO, Flint & Genesee Chamber. “In doing so, their program fits nicely with our talent development efforts, and we are thankful for their continued support and partnership.”

This summer, Flint teens supported by the Michigan DNR grant will engage in a variety of outdoor-related assignments. For some, this may include working with a Master Gardener at various Mass Transportation Authority facilities, cultivating the gardens and hoop houses at Asbury Community Development or landscaping the property surrounding Huckleberry Railroad at Genesee County Parks.

Other organizations the teens are working with include Applewood, City of Flint, Fighting Blight in My City, Greater Holy Temple, Urban Renaissance Center, Kearsley Lake Golf Course, Second Chance Ministries and Swartz Creek Golf Course. A group of teens will also be working on a series of short-term projects at locations including Ebenezer Ministry & Community Center, My Community Gardens, New Creation Church of God and New Jerusalem Full Gospel Baptist Church.

By the end of summer, each teen will have added up to 300 hours of on-the-job experience to their resumes.

In addition to their assigned jobs, the teens will complete park maintenance and beautification projects at Holly Recreation Area and Seven Lakes State Park. They will also participate in a variety of recreational activities at Covenant Hills Camp & Retreat in Otisville and Bald Mountain State Recreation Area near Lake Orion.

“By offering different work and recreation opportunities, this program prepares teens to make more informed decisions about their future,” said Ron Olson, Chief of Parks & Recreation for the Michigan DNR. “It gives them a wider pool of experiences to pull from. For some teens, it may result in them pursuing further education or a career in parks management or a related field.”

In total, the Chamber expects to help 398 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 15.5 percent for the summer of 2019.

For more information about TeenQuest, visit www.flintandgenesee.org/teenquest.

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 primary support from the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation. To apply or learn more, visit www.flintandgenesee.org/teenquest.