For the second consecutive year, Toyota Financial Services’ Detroit DSSO has partnered with LaFontaine Toyota of Dearborn, Michigan, and the Boys & Girls Club of Southeastern Michigan to provide a job shadowing event for a group of 10 hard-working Detroit teens. These teens are chosen from previous Youth of the Month winners and participants in the Club’s Jobs Program to ensure they take a serious interest in the subject matter.
“Toyota’s Job Shadow event is a big highlight for the teens participating in d2D (diplomas2Degrees) every year,” says Boys & Girls Club Director Chris Kyles. “It helps break up the classroom setting of most sessions and gets them out into the real world. The event was a big factor in Toyota winning our Outstanding Volunteer Award this past April.”
This year’s event was hosted by Adam Reitemeier, TFS Detroit’s Community Ambassador; Myra Douse, TFS Detroit Credit Supervisor; Jessica Haddad, LaFontaine Toyota’s Business to Business Coordinator; and Phil Locker, LaFontaine Toyota’s Director of Education & Training.
There were a few returning teens from last year, but most were experiencing their first Toyota job shadowing event. Bored faces quickly evaporated when they saw the professional board room from the meeting with Mr. Locker. Mr. Locker, a former high school teacher, was able to engage the teens with an interactive game that taught them the various roles of an auto dealership, and how they connect to TFS.
“Last year’s event was fun, but I think this year was even better with the presentation and the game at the end,” said Nina Williams, a returning teen and the Club’s most recent Youth of the Year award winner. Several other teens expressed surprise in the wide variety of roles in the automotive industry and indicated interest in exploring future career opportunities in this field.
The Job Shadowing event was initiated by Adam Reitemeier, who realized when he first came into his Community Ambassador role that, although TFS Detroit had been consistently mentoring teens at the local Boys & Girls Club to prepare them for college, there was little mentoring or preparation for college’s end game: starting and building a career.
LaFontaine Toyota was the natural choice to get the program started because the dealership is very community-minded and has a long history of non-profit work throughout Metro Detroit. “LaFontaine is proud to partner with TFS on the Job Shadow program for the Boys & Girl Club of Detroit,” said LaFontaine Toyota’s B2B Coordinator Jessica Haddad. “We enjoy teaching the kids different aspects of our dealership and know that they all have bright future ahead. Their drive, passion, and eagerness to learn were all evident during the trip.”
Now, as the company moves closer to a goal of One Toyota, Adam is excited to be playing a part in expanding the Job Shadowing program to include the Toyota Tech Center in Ann Arbor, Michigan, which would allow the teens to see a different side of the automotive industry.