Executive Perspective: New School Year on the Horizon

By Dr. Kimberly Leverette

As we enter August, I’m looking forward to our upcoming school year. While parents are back-to-school shopping and families are finishing their summer activities, our team at Flint & Genesee Education & Talent is working hard to prepare for what’s to come.

The first thing that comes to mind when thinking of the new school year is how diligently my staff has worked this past year consistently providing quality programs to youth and young adults of Flint & Genesee. It’s fulfilling to watch the impact Education & Talent has on our community.

For YouthQuest, I am excited to see our continued partnership with Flint Community Schools, International Academy of Flint and Flint Cultural Center Academy flourish as we hire new staff and continue to strengthen our program.

I am looking forward to the expansion of our YQ Biz youth entrepreneurship program for our elementary and secondary students. Recently, I joined some of our high school students and Jimantra Grant, our middle school/high school youth entrepreneur coordinator for YouthQuest/GISD in partnership with YEI, for the Next Gen Summit in New York City. There, they were able to connect with top business leaders and entrepreneurs and share their visions and dreams. The trip was inspiring and gave us the passion to continue to grow and explore our YQ Biz program.

With YQ Biz, students as early as kindergarten learn the ins and outs of how to start and run a business with a strong emphasis on financial literacy. That thread of financial literacy continues through to our TeenQuest pre-employment training program.

New for the 2022/2023 school year, TeenQuest has partnered with a local construction, finance and logistics services business, the John L Group, to build in lessons for our teens on financial literacy. Money management is an important skill for anyone to learn but especially for our students who are entering into adulthood at an interesting time in our economy.

Coming off this year’s Summer Youth Initiative (SYI) program, I am excited to see a new batch of teens prepare for the opportunity to work a summer job in 2023. Our SYI students can get hands-on experience at their first job while being able to bring home a paycheck.

Continuing with our programs, I am happy to see our continued partnership with local institutions through the Flint Promise scholarship program. Thus far, 13 students have graduated through the program – which partners with Mott Community College, the University of Michigan-Flint and Kettering University – with more expected to graduate in Spring 2023. We are looking forward to seeing more students graduate throughout the years as we continue to work to provide what they need to be successful.

Finally, in the upcoming year, I am looking forward to seeing our staff grow on a personal and professional level as we continue to provide training through our professional development offerings. This year, trainings will focus on a variety of topics, including Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI). These efforts in DEI will help ensure that we create an inclusive and welcoming environment for our students and staff.

Overall, this is going to be an exciting year for Flint & Genesee Education & Talent, and I am grateful to see what is on the horizon for each of our programs.