For Immediate Release
Story Contacts: Bonnie Jones
Hilda Johnson Smith
Great Promise Partnership
Jackson EMC contribution will help expand Great Promise Partnership
(Jefferson, Ga., October 24, 2014) Jackson EMC will donate $10,000 to Great Promise Partnership (GPP), a statewide cooperative education program designed to help at-risk students. GPP currently has programs in Clarke, Gwinnett, Hall and Jackson counties in Jackson EMC’s service area, and is in the planning stages for a Banks County program.
“In Georgia, one in three high school students will not graduate, often due to factors outside of their control, such as poverty or inadequate housing. More than one million Georgians over the age of 18 don’t have high school diplomas and are not adequately prepared for the workplace. By bringing together public and private partnerships, mentors and positive workplaces, Great Promise Partnership is giving at-risk students a reason to stay in school and succeed,” says Hilda Johnson Smith, GPP coordinator.
Under the leadership of Mike Beatty, former Commissioner of the Georgia Department of Community Affairs, the DCA Communities of Opportunity program was designed to help communities alleviate the effects of poverty. The program consistently identified education as the best hope of breaking the cycle of poverty. From this work came the idea to create the Great Promise Partnership, founded by Beatty prior to his retirement as Commissioner of DCA.
Students involved with GPP spend part of their day at their regular school assignment and part at a job location. By gaining real-world job experience, these students are not only motivated to complete their high school education, but they also gain an understanding of what will be expected of them when they go to work,” said Smith.
“This company was founded on cooperative principles, just like GPP, and we recognize that so much more can be accomplished by working together to improve education and reduce poverty in our state. Jackson EMC has a successful history of using interns and co-op students, many of whom have gone on to become full time employees of the cooperative, so we’re excited to help fund such a program,” commented Jackson EMC president/CEO Chip Jakins.
The Jackson EMC donation comes from margin refunds that have been unclaimed by the electric cooperative’s members. Legislation passed in 2005 permits Georgia electric cooperatives to make charitable and economic development contributions of margin refunds that remain unclaimed by former members after a specified period of time.
Jackson EMC is a member-owned, not-for-profit electric cooperative providing power to more than 214,000 meters in 10 Northeast Georgia counties.
Launched as a pilot program in January 2012, GPP now has job sites in 30 Georgia counties and counts as statewide partners such organizations as the Association of County Commissioners of Georgia, Georgia 4-H/University of Georgia Cooperative Extension, Georgia Department of Economic Development Workforce Division, Georgia Department of Education, Georgia Department of Labor, Technical College System of Georgia, University System of Georgia and United Way of Georgia, as well as the Georgia Electric Membership Corporation, the electric cooperatives’ statewide organization.
For information on Great Promise Partnership, please call 706/362-7078 or go to gppartnership.org.
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Photo: Jackson EMC District Manager Scott Martin (far left) and Sr. Commercial/Industrial Marketing Representative Joe Hicks (far right) present a $10,000 donation from unclaimed margin refunds to Great Promise Partnership President/CEO Mike Beatty and Coordinator Hilda Smith to help expand the program to keep at-risk students in school.