Summer Jobs: Gaining Experience Before Graduation


Getting a first job is an important step in a person’s life. Thanks to Summer Youth Initiative (SYI), getting a first job as a teenager can be more accessible for TeenQuest graduates.

“Our SYI program gives TeenQuest graduates the opportunity to interview with local employers for a summer job,” says James Avery, director of Education & Training at the Flint & Genesee Chamber of Commerce. “Many of them are hired, allowing them to get experience before graduating from college and making them better prepared for the workforce.”

In 2020, nearly 260 TeenQuest graduates worked through SYI. And although the jobs looked different than in years past due to safety precautions and restrictions put in place due to the coronavirus pandemic, teens still had a rewarding work experience and were able to earn money to put toward their future.

Emily Gibson, who worked at the Flint Children’s Museum, is thankful for the experience.

“I couldn’t see myself having a better first job,” says Gibson, who is currently working at McDonald’s. “If I hadn’t had that experience, I don’t think I would have been confident enough to get my current job.”

For Gibson, her time in TeenQuest and Summer Youth Initiative gave her the confidence she needed to go after a second job.

“Before I participated in TeenQuest, I was very shy and reserved,” says Gibson. “Having to work with people that I didn’t know taught me a lot, and I made friends with my new coworkers while learning valuable skills such as team building.”

TeenQuest graduates will have the opportunity to participate in the SYI Job Fair which will be held virtually from April 26 – May 14. High school students who have completed the TeenQuest program will receive an invitation to participate and must send in an application for the job fair by March 31.

Genesee County teens who haven’t completed TeenQuest yet still have one more opportunity before the SYI Job fair. The last TeenQuest of the school year, which will be held virtually, runs February 22 – March 25, with orientation on February 18.

To sign up for the next TeenQuest session, which is open to students ages 14-19 in grades 9-12, visit

For more information on Summer Youth Initiative, visit

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