For the first time in TeenQuest history, students have completed the pre-employment program via computer and phone rather than in-person. The change in format came in response to the coronavirus outbreak, which has kept students at home since March 16.
“By the time Governor Whitmer announced the initial closing of K-12 school buildings in Michigan, our students had just one or two modules of 13 left to complete,” says James Avery, director of Education & Training at the Flint & Genesee Chamber of Commerce, which administers TeenQuest. “Rather than postpone the rest of the session, we knew we needed to make some changes to ensure our students are eligible for the Summer Youth Initiative (SYI) Job Fair.”
To begin, TeenQuest facilitators created virtual lessons for students to watch and sent follow-up quizzes via email. Then, to help students complete the requirements of the program, local business professionals volunteered to lead mock interviews via phone.
“We talk a lot about problem-solving in TeenQuest,” Avery says. “Our response to this pandemic has helped us demonstrate that skill for students in a real-world situation.”
Moving forward, the TeenQuest team is exploring alternative options to celebrate the graduation of students in this most recent session. Additionally, Avery says students can expect a new format for the 2020 SYI Job Fair.
“We are working with our SYI employers to make our job fair completely virtual,” says Avery. “Based on the technology available to employers and students, interviews will be completed either by phone or video conference services.”
According to Avery, students will be directly contacted with times and dates for interviews once they are scheduled.
TeenQuest and Summer Youth Initiative are made possible through the generous support of the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation.
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