Flint, MI—Employer proposals for an annual job fair seeking to connect employers to Flint teenagers with pre-employment training are due at the end of this week.

The Summer Youth Initiative Job Fair, or SYI, has been around since the 1990s. Flint & Genesee Education & Talent—a division of the Flint & Genesee Group—became the lead agency for the program in 2006.

“Every year, hundreds of Genesee County teens are hired because of this event,” said James Avery, director of talent development at Flint & Genesee Education & Talent, in a press release. “For many of our students, this is where they land their first job.” 

Employer proposals for SYI are due March 18, and student applications are due by March 31.

SYI’s talent pool is limited to Flint and Genesee County high school students who have graduated from the group’s TeenQuest training—a five-week program that offers young people pre-employment and leadership lessons. Since 2007, more than 8,820 Genesee County teens have graduated from the TeenQuest program, with thousands going on to participate in SYI.

According to the release, teens who participate in the fair have completed 40 hours of hands-on training covering resume writing, interviewing, and business etiquette. So, Avery said, “they understand the importance of communicating effectively, being on time, and working as part of a team—the kinds of things that define a quality employee.”

Past Summer Youth Initiative employers have included schools, summer day camps, urban gardening and community beautification projects, offices, retail, and foodservice businesses. 

SYI is billed as a “cost-effective option” for such employers, as participating for-profit businesses are eligible to receive a 50-50 salary match for employees hired through the fair, and nonprofits are reimbursed for 100 percent of the teen’s wages.

Businesses and nonprofits interested in participating in the Summer Youth Initiative Job Fair can apply or get more information on Flint & Genesee Education & Talent’s website. Proposals are due by 5 p.m. March 18. 

The program is open to TeenQuest graduates who live in Genesee County and are between the ages of 14 to 19 in grades 9 to 12. Graduates interested in participating in the job fair should apply by March 31 at www.flintandgenesee.org/syi.

Kate is Flint Beat's associate editor. She joined the team as a corps member of Report for America, a national service program that places journalists into local newsrooms to report on under-covered issues....