Local Teens are Counting on Us

Tim Herman, CEO, Flint & Genesee Chamber of Commerce

Tim Herman, CEO

Last week, Michigan’s Department of Technology, Management & Budget (DTMB) issued its summer 2015 job market forecast for Michigan teens. The teen unemployment rate is expected to decline by 2.8 percent from last summer. That’s the good news.

The bad news is that the unemployment rate for teens is still projected to be 17.2 percent statewide. Locally, that number is even higher.

While the downward trend is positive news, there’s still a tremendous need for the business community to work together and bring innovative ideas to the table. The ultimate goal; every Flint & Genesee teenager who wants a summer job can get one.

Our TeenQuest and Summer Youth Initiative (SYI) programs – which are generously funded by the C. S. Mott Foundation – are all about preparation and jobs for teens. The programs also benefit from grants from the Community Foundation of Greater Flint, AT&T, Ruth Mott Foundation, Michigan Department of Natural Resources, Workforce Investment Act program and the Sunrise Rotary.

Our Chamber partners with area employers – nonprofits and for-profits – to provide summer employment opportunities. In 2014 alone, over 600 teens were hired for summer jobs through SYI.

Young people, ages 14-19, who are interested in a summer job must first participate in and graduate from TeenQuest. TeenQuest is a highly focused, five-week employment and training program where participants learn immediately useable skills, such as business etiquette, teamwork, communication, goal-setting, and work ethic in preparation for summer employment.

Through this program, we are making a tremendous impact on many of our local youth. But we need to do more to grow these programs. One of the ways to do this is for the business community to rally around this critical need, and hire teens for the summer.

Entrepreneurs, small business owners, solo practitioners and larger companies alike: It’s time to bring the best minds together and determine how we can employ more of our local teenagers. Some of you might be saying that you can’t afford to. I say we can’t afford not to. Hiring a teen gives him/her a way to be productive, earn income and an accomplishment to be proud of. It also benefits the community.

Keep in mind that hiring teens through SYI comes with a benefit. If you can’t afford to hire them, the SYI program will pay all costs for nonprofits and 50 percent of costs to hire at a for-profit. So think about it. Can you really afford not to?

Anyone who is interested in more details should contact Rhetta Hunyady at rhunyady@flintandgenesee.org.  Either Rhetta or a member of her staff would be glad to speak with your team or come out and visit to share more about the programs.

Remember, our local teens are counting on us!


Construction Begins on Hurley Children’s Center at Flint Farmers’ Market

Hard Hat Tours available inside 10,000 square-foot, state-of-the-art facility, the first of its kind located in a farmers’ market   

FLINT – Construction is underway on the estimated $2 million Hurley Children’s Center, located on the second floor of the Flint Farmers’ Market. The new build totals 10,300 square feet, and encompasses 12 pediatric specialty clinics, continuity/resident primary care clinic, 24 exam rooms, a lab, and an innovative resident/ preceptor teaching area. Future plans also include having prescriptions delivered to the Children’s Center location from our H-Care pharmacy located at Hurley Medical Center.

The project is a collaborative effort of Hurley Children’s Hospital and the Uptown Reinvestment Corporation (URC), which operates the Flint Farmers’ Market. The Charles Stewart Mott Foundation provided almost $1 million in funding for the project through a grant to the Foundation for the URC.

The Center’s design will be patient- and family-centered, incorporating an open layout that uses onstage (patient care) and off-stage (physician/provider areas) to support team-based care.

The Hurley Children’s Center offers pediatric medical services to the City of Flint, Genesee County, and a 15-county region in Michigan.  Hurley’s Wellness Hub, located on the main floor of the Farmers’ Market already offers weekly information, classes, healthy cooking demos and much more.

“Placing a pediatric clinic in a Farmer’s Market is an innovative concept, opening up opportunities to partner with patients and families to live healthier lives and build a healthier community,” adds Mona Hanna-Attisha, MD, MPH, director, Hurley Pediatric Residency Program. “We’ll be able to give prescriptions to families to buy fruits and vegetables, and they can create healthy family meals by going downstairs and filling that prescription. We don’t know of any other medical office inside a farmers’ market where this is happening.

“Hurley is leveraging its role as the area’s premier public healthcare provider with the Farmers’ Market role in providing, and educating the community with, affordable and healthy food,” said Melany Gavulic, RN, MBA, president and chief executive officer, Hurley Medical Center. “We are so pleased to support this vital project. It’s a win-win situation for the entire greater Genesee County community, and will lead not only to greater health and wellness education, but to improved outcomes from a public health perspective.

Visiting families will be able to use their Double Up Food Bucks at the Farmer’s Market.  Double Up provides Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) beneficiaries with a one-to-one match to purchase healthy, locally grown fruits and vegetables.  The Farmers’ Market anticipates 1,000,000 visitors this year.

“The new Hurley Children’s Center is an exciting addition to Flint’s growing Health and Wellness District,” said Ridgway White, president of the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation. “Hurley’s health care providers are thinking outside the walls of their practice and bringing in the best the community has to offer to keep kids healthy and prevent them from getting sick in the first place. That’s a really forward-thinking approach. We commend Hurley on it, and we’re pleased to support the effort.”

Construction is expected to be completed this summer.


Get an Energy Boost: Sit Up Straight and Oxygenate

Poor posture doesn’t just look bad, it is bad for you. Studies have shown that slouching greatly decreases both lung capacity and how fast a person can exhale. And the less oxygen a person breathes in, the more sluggish he or she will feel.

“A lot of times, when people feel tired, they look for snacks to perk them up,” said Carolyn Lyons, a yoga instructor at Revive Wellness Spa in Flushing. “But if they could just get a little bit (more) air in them, that may solve the problem.”

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Lunch & Learn to Cover Optimizing Your Website for Local Search

Area business owners and professionals can learn how to improve their websites’ local search rankings at the next Lunch & Learn hosted by the Flint & Genesee Chamber of Commerce and American Advertising Federation of Greater Flint.

“SEO and Local Search” will highlight the importance of local search engine optimization (SEO) and how it impacts a business’ visibility on search engine websites such as Google. The free event takes place June 17, from noon to 1 p.m., at the Mott Foundation Building, 519 S. Saginaw St., in Flint. Lunch will be provided.

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Business Workshops Part II: Talent Resources

Local manufacturers interested in the talent resources available as well as current career and technical training programs should attend the Flint & Genesee Chamber of Commerce’s business workshop: Talent Resources. The session will bring together employers and educators to develop an action plan that addresses the unmet technical career openings in the area.

This is the second in a series of business workshops to support the growth of local companies.

The Talent Resources workshop takes place June 11, from 8-9:30 a.m., at Mott Community College Regional Technology Center, 1401 E. Court Street. Registration begins 7:45 a.m., with the program starting promptly at 8 a.m.

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Make Your Connection with MTA

Accessing vendor opportunities with the Mass Transportation Authority (MTA) is the focus of a unique purchasing event for small businesses in Flint & Genesee.

Make Your Connection with MTA will allow small businesses to learn about a range of needs the local transit authority is looking to fill for the 2015-2016 fiscal year. Presented by the I-69 Thumb Region Procurement Technical Assistance Center (PTAC), the event takes June 17, from 8 – 9:30 a.m., at the Mott Foundation Building, 519 S. Saginaw St., in Flint.

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CVB Partnership Puts Flint & Genesee on the Radar

Under the Radar MichiganYou may know Under the Radar Michigan from its PBS television program, but this bit of info may be a little more “under the radar”: It’s also a partner of the Flint & Genesee Convention & Visitors Bureau (CVB).

The CVB is teaming with Under the Radar to promote tourism throughout Flint & Genesee. The campaign includes the creation of five 3- to 5-minute videos, social media engagement efforts and advertising on its website to help promote Genesee County. Visit the Under the Radar website home page, utrmichigan.com, and you’ll see a prominent link to the Flint & Genesee CVB website.

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Flint & Genesee CVB Will Hit the Road for Back to Bricks Promo Tour

The Back to the Bricks Promotional Tour is gearing up to hit the road, and the Flint & Genesee Convention & Visitors Bureau is hitching a ride.

On June 12-16, the CVB will join a long caravan of classic cars during the Back to the Bricks 2015 Westside Promotional Tour. The annual tour has been held since 2010. Last year’s promo tour was the largest yet – about 160 cars.

At least that many cars are expected this year since registrations are ahead of last year, said Roberta Vasilow, Events Chair for Back to the Bricks. The tour will make stops in Battle Creek, Whitehall, Manistee, Boyne City and West Branch.

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Registration Open for Artomotive Competition – Artists’ Car Hoods Will Hang in Flint Farmers’ Market

Registration for the annual Artomotive competition is open, and this year’s artists could have their artwork voted on by more people than ever. For the first time, finished pieces will hang prominently in the Flint Farmers’ Market.

“We think the foot traffic at the Flint Farmers’ Market combined with the thousands of visitors here for Back to the Bricks could be a game-changer for this year’s Artomotive competition,” said Cheryl DeFrain, Director of the Flint & Genesee Convention & Visitors Bureau (CVB). “Seeing these magnificent car hoods painted and hanging in the Farmers’ Market atrium will be quite the experience. This is a win-win for the artists, the market, our visitors – everyone!”

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Flint Farmers’ Market among Best Food Markets in the U.S.

Flint Farmers' Market, Flint MIBefore you die, there are 13 American food markets you must visit. So says the men’s lifestyle website Thrillist. There’s Pike Place Market in Seattle. The French Market in New Orleans. And the Flint Farmers’ Market in, well, Flint.

That’s not a typo.

“We are thrilled to be in the lineup with some of the biggest and best-known markets in the world,” says Karianne Martus, manager of the Flint Farmers’ Market, which is nearing its one-year anniversary at its new location downtown.

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