Valdosta Commits to Second Year of Great Promise to Local Youth

City recognized for leading state in implementation of program

Sixteen Valdosta High School juniors and seniors embarked on a career training experience of a lifetime with the City of Valdosta on July 5, as part of the Great Promise Partnership Program (GPP). The new students joined four GPP student interns returning from last year, for a total of 20 GPP students currently employed at the city.

One of the first municipalities in Georgia to participate in the statewide initiative, the city has committed to providing local young people up to two years of employment, job training, life skills, mentoring and income as incentives to finish high school through the GPP program.

“We’re proud that the City of Valdosta and Valdosta High School were selected as community participants in 2013, and we encourage other communities across the state of Georgia to utilize this program as well,” said City Manager Larry Hanson, who did just that through his presentation at the 2017 Georgia Municipal Association’s Annual Convention. “We are committed to doing our part in 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.”

Valdosta was honored with the 2017 Great Promise Partnership Trailblazer Award at the GMA Convention, on June 26, for being a leader in Georgia in the implementation of the GPP program. Other communities who received the award were the City of Dalton, Athens-Clarke County, and Swainsboro/Emanuel County.

“We’re excited to honor the City of Valdosta with the 2017 Great Promise Partnership Trailblazer Award for bringing the community together in support of our great young people,” said Mike Beatty, GPP’s President and CEO. “Valdosta should be held up as an example for all of Georgia of what can be done if we work together to move a generation of young people away from failure to true participation in the American Dream.”

The Valdosta GPP 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.

The students have been assigned to a mentor and a supervisor and will work in the following Valdosta departments: Engineering, Planning and Zoning, Inspections, Public Works, Utilities, Finance, Human Resources, Neighborhood Development, Fire and Police.

“We encourage other local businesses and organization is 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.”

For more information, contact Neighborhood Development Director Vanassa Flucas at 229-671-3617 or vflucas@valdostacity.com, or VHS work based learning coordinator Aquila Blankumsee at 229-333-8500 or ablackumsee@gocats.org.