In March, TeenQuest – a pre-employment training program facilitated by the Flint & Genesee Chamber of Commerce – pivoted in-person sessions to online in order to comply with Gov. Whitmer’s “Stay Home, Stay Safe” executive order and to keep students and facilitators safe. The switch, which came out of necessity, has grown into a streamlined virtual experience for students.
“Our students have adjusted well to the virtual format,” says James Avery, director of Education & Training for the Flint & Genesee Chamber of Commerce. “We’ve been able to build smaller groups and provide more flexibility in the time of the day each session runs.”
Currently, in its fourth iteration of virtual TeenQuest, the program has seen success in reaching students where they are and providing more one-on-one interaction with smaller groups. Each TeenQuest session is broken up into smaller groups that attend two 45-minute, facilitator-led online sessions and approximately 90-minutes of self-guided learning per week.
The flexibility of virtual session has been beneficial to TeenQuest students. According to TeenQuest facilitator Mark Munger, students have been able to attend sessions from all sorts of locations.
“Students have more flexibility,” says Munger. “Last week, a student logged on from the waiting room of her dentist, and another student is able to attend session during his job on his lunch break.”
The unique opportunities that have been presented since switching TeenQuest to a virtual setting have created a new option to deliver programing that can work in conjunction with in-person sessions in the future.
“We hope to keep virtual options open even after we are able to return to in-person sessions,” says Avery. “This opportunity has shown us that we can deliver programming to students we weren’t able to reach in the past due to scheduling.”
Students ages 14-19 in 9th-12th grades can experience TeenQuest for themselves. Registration for the next session of TeenQuest, which runs Oct. 26 through Dec. 3, 2020, is currently open. For more information on the program and to register, visit www.flintandgenesee.org/teenquest.
TeenQuest and Summer Youth Initiative are made possible through the generous support of the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation.