Continuous improvement is part of the Flint & Genesee Group’s DNA. This has been especially evident in the work of our Flint & Genesee Education & Talent division and its many programs including YouthQuest, TeenQuest, Summer Youth Initiative, Opportunity Youth and Career Edge.
Through the charge that we have given ourselves, we have seen these programs grow to new heights and have subsequently been given opportunities to demonstrate that growth at both a state and a national level.
For YouthQuest, an afterschool program that supports students who attend school through Flint Community Schools and International Academy of Flint, we have been using third-party evaluators from our inception to track the progress of our programs. This has allowed us to work closely with these organizations to help shape standards for afterschool at state and national levels.
Recently, YouthQuest was nominated by the state of Michigan to participate in the 2021 STEM Family Engagement Planning Tool Pilot led by the Institute for the Study of Resilience in Youth at McLean Hospital and Harvard Medical School. Through this pilot, YouthQuest will help to set best practices for afterschool programs nationwide.
Other opportunities we have had to influence the afterschool space is through our involvement with the Michigan After School Programs alignment committee on which our assessment support facilitator Jeniffer Pocza participates, working to align Michigan’s standards to national standards.
Because of these programs, our staff has been able to present our process for collecting data and how data drives the innovation of our program at national conferences such as the Ready by 21 conference.
Another example of how our practices have received recognition is through Flint Promise, a scholarship program for graduates of high schools located in the city of Flint. The wrap around support services offered through the program, including access to Success Coaches, have been recognized by other similar programs and our staff has presented our model national conferences such as the Promise Net conference.
And we see our success in this area grow every day. Not just through data and analytics, but by following up with participants in our program. This is shown in our On the Job profile series where our team tells the stories of graduates from our pre-employment training program TeenQuest who are now successful adults coming into their careers.
Flint & Genesee County students can get involved with Flint & Genesee Education & Talent programs this summer. A session of TeenQuest will be held in July this year, YouthQuest is holding summer programs for Flint students and Flint Promise is accepting applications for the 2021-2022 school year.
Through our programs’ successes, the biggest achievement is our impact on the community. After all, that is why we do the work we do, to make Flint and Genesee County a great place to live, work and play.
Kristina Johnston is the Chief Operating Officer of the Flint & Genesee Group