Summer jobs and learning opportunities for Genesee County teens received an important boost on Monday, thanks to a total of $891,900 in support of the 2012 Summer Youth initiative, a program of the Genesee Regional Chamber of Commerce.

Each year, the Summer Youth Initiative helps more than 400 teens prepare for and connect with job opportunities in a number of fields. These include working as day camp counselors for young children; performing general office duties; helping other young people develop their reading skills; and assisting with beautification, gardening and library programs. Participants also volunteer at least one day during the summer at various community-based programs.

Grants for the 2012 program include $825,000 from the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation to the Genesee Area Focus Fund, along with support from the Ruth Mott Foundation ($50,000); Community Foundation of Greater Flint ($16,000); and Rotary Club of Greater Flint Sunrise ($900) to the Genesee Chamber Foundation. The Focus Fund and Chamber Foundation are the non-profit fundraising arms of the Regional Chamber.

The Community Foundation award is comprised of $7,500 from the Florence Michelson Fund of the Fenton Community Fund; $5,000 from the Grand Blanc Community Fund; $2,500 from the Justin M. Jury Fund of the Davison Community Fund; and $1,000 from the Clio Area Community Fund. The various funds are managed by the Community Foundation.

"In an increasingly competitive labor market, young people must develop the broad range of skills and life experiences that will help them to stand out among their peers," said William S. White, president and CEO of the C.S. Mott Foundation. "The Flint Summer Youth Initiative offers local teens those crucial learning opportunities, while helping to meet the employment needs of local businesses and organizations."

The funding for the Summer Youth Initiative includes support for TeenQuest, an after-school pre-employment and leadership training program for teens ages 14-18. The program, offered year-round and sponsored by the Regional Chamber, teaches participants the basics of teamwork, business etiquette, work ethics, communication, goal setting and conflict resolution. The five-week program is a pre-requisite for young people participating in the initiative.

"Thanks to the generous support of the C.S. Mott Foundation and all of our other funders, we can continue to provide leadership and employment opportunities for Flint-Genesee County teens," said Tim Herman, CEO of the Regional Chamber. "Summer Youth Initiative and TeenQuest are life changing programs that provide leadership training and summer employment for thousands of Genesee County youth since the inception of the programs. These programs have helped youth to enter college or the workforce better prepared for the future. There is no way we could provide this important service free of charge without support from our funding partners."

For more information about TeenQuest or Summer Youth Initiative, contact Rhetta Hunyady, Vice President of Employer Education and Training for the Regional Chamber at (810) 600-1412 or