On July 5, several Valdosta High School juniors and seniors will embark on a career training experience of a lifetime as part of the Great Promise Partnership (GPP) program. The City of Valdosta is one of the first municipalities in Georgia to participate in the statewide initiative that offers these young people up to two years of employment, job training, and income as an incentive to finish high school.
Eight students will work full-time in several city departments during July and part-time during the fall and spring around their school schedules, gaining real-world experience and job training while also earning a paycheck. The internships are funded through the City of Valdosta’s Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program, which is an economic development initiative that provides—among other assistances—employment opportunities and training for low-moderate income persons.
“We’re proud that the City of Valdosta and Valdosta High School were selected as community participants in 2013—becoming one of the first municipalities to utilize this program in the state of Georgia,” said City Manager Larry Hanson. “We look forward to fulfilling the GPP’s long-standing goal of keeping youth in school, building a bridge to success and creating a skilled workforce for the community.”
The students have been assigned to a mentor and a supervisor and will work in the following Valdosta departments: Engineering, Planning and Zoning, Inspections, Permits, Finance, Main Street, Public Information, Human Resources, Neighborhood Development and Police. Initially, the city was going to hire four students to start in June 2016. After interviewing approximately 13 students, who were all very impressive, the city decided to change the work schedule and increase the number of students in the program to eight.
A New Student Intern Orientation will take place Tuesday, July 5, in the City Hall Annex Multi-Purpose Room at 8 a.m. to introduce the eight students to their new workplace which will provide them with real-world work experience, mentoring and life skills over the next one to two years.
“We encourage other local businesses and organizations to support this community-building program,” said Mayor John Gayle. “When we invest in our youth and provide opportunities like these for their career success, we are sending a message to our youth that we believe in them—this is a commitment that will truly have a positive return on our investment and ensure the vitality of Valdosta for years to come.”
The GPP program is an at-risk student intervention program founded by Mike Beatty, former Commissioner of the Department of Community Affairs (DCA) in partnership with Southwire in Carrollton, GA.
“Valdosta was one of the first two communities in the state to step up and embrace this opportunity to encourage our young people to stay in school, earn a paycheck, plan for college, and develop the fundamentals of success,” said Beatty. “Valdosta’s commitment to hire eight young people in their organization sends a clear message to all the public and private enterprises in their city that this is a great investment, not only for the youth but for the entire community.”
In addition to the City of Valdosta, the other local participants in the GPP program are ELead, the James H. Rainwater Conference Center, Wild Adventures, Wiregrass Georgia Technical College and Langdale Industries.
For more information, contact Neighborhood Development Director Vanassa Flucas at 229-671-3617 or firstname.lastname@example.org, or VHS Assistant Principal Chris Chastain at 229-333-8500 or email@example.com.