A Look at the SYI Job Fair

Last Saturday, more than 130 students participated in the Summer Youth Initiative (SYI) Job Fair at Genesee Career Institute. There, students were able to interview with 25 different local employers hiring for a variety of jobs including clerical, outdoor and recreation, childcare, healthcare, assembly, and warehouse.  

“We are very excited for our students to have a wide variety of places to work for this summer,” says James Avery, director of Talent Development for Flint & Genesee Education & Talent. “I am glad to see the turnout of students we had on Saturday and the professionalism they brought while meeting with potential future employers.” 

The SYI Job Fair is hosted each year for students who have graduated from the TeenQuest pre-employment and leadership training program. Students who are hired through SYI work through the summer earning experience and a paycheck. 

“I want to work this summer because I really want the experience,” says Laila Ulmer who is in 9th grade at Flushing High School. “I have never actually worked for a company before.” 

Students hired from the job fair will start working as soon as June and will work through the summer. The opportunity benefits the students and is rewarding for the employers. 

“We’ve had fantastic staff come out of (SYI) and we’ve had the opportunity to watch these kids grow and thrive,” says Jaime Welch, paddling programs director for Flint River Watershed Coalition. “We do a training for all our staff, SYIs aren’t required to attend but if they want to we certainly want them to, and one of the SYIs last year couldn’t swim but came out and learned how to do self-rescues on herself – the courage that takes is just huge and it was very cool to watch.” 

Not only does a summer job provide experience and funds, but it is also a great way for these students to make connections. Some SYI students have gone on to work full-time for the same employers they met through the program after graduation.  

The SYI program will also engage students in volunteerism during the summer. Each SYI employer partner coordinates a volunteer day that all students participate in to help teach the power of community and giving back.  

For more information on SYI, visit EducateFlintandGenesee.org/Summer-Youth-Initiative. 

TeenQuest and Summer Youth Initiative are made possible through the generous support of the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation.