On July 5, Valdosta High School juniors and seniors embarked on a career training experience of a lifetime with the City of Valdosta as part of the Great Promise Partnership Program (GPP). The five new students joined two GPP student interns returning from last year, for a total of seven GPP students currently employed at the city.
Valdosta was one of the first municipalities in Georgia to participate in the statewide initiative. The city is 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.
“I think Valdosta was the first municipality to employ the students through the city. When I’m asked for a recommendation by other communities that we partner with, I ask them to call the City of Valdosta and ask about their GPP program because it has been so successful,” said Marvin Stafford, Regional Coordinator.
Recently at the Annual GMA Convention in Savannah, Valdosta was presented the Bronze Community Cornerstone Award. In 2017, the City was also recognized at the GMA Convention, receiving the Great Promise Partnership Trailblazer Award for being a leader in Georgia in the implementation of the GPP program.
The Valdosta GPP students 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 to moderate income persons.
“I think it’s important for the kids to see what city employees actually do. We think of fire and police, and people who pick up garbage immediately but we don’t think about planning and zoning, permits, and other departments. This is a very strong program and we think the city employees do a great job helping our kids,” said Stafford.
“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.”
For more information, contact Neighborhood Development Director Vanassa Flucas at 229-671-3617 or email@example.com, or VHS work based learning coordinator Aquila Blankumsee at 229-333-8500 or firstname.lastname@example.org.