Feb
6

Year Up gives young Atlantans a leg up

A recent study found that Atlanta had the worst income mobility in the U.S. and young Atlantans from low-income households have just a 13 percent chance of moving into the top 40 percent of earners.

Fortunately, there is an organization in Atlanta working to improve these odds. Year Up provides young adults with the skills, support and real-world experience they need to close the opportunity divide through internships at local businesses.

This year, two young women interned at Gas South, where they developed the critical job skills they need to join the workforce.

Jomicka Green and Liliana Tapia are Gas South’s first Year Up interns, and we couldn’t be more pleased with the outcome.

I believe Year Up training can make candidates a better fit for our company and it helps mitigate the normal hiring risk we see day to day. I wish every young person we hire could go through this class.

While programs like Year Up help companies avoid hiring mistakes, it also gives young adults, who may have a difficult time moving up the economic ladder, the opportunity of a brighter future.

Liliana told me that she had to prioritize and either stay with Year Up and be something or stay with the hostess job and be nothing. She decided she had nothing to lose. I commend Liliana and Jomicka for their determination and tenacity. And we thank Year Up for creating this incredibly successful program!

For more information on Year Up, visit the organization’s website or check out a recent article published in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Author: Meredith Hodges

Meredith W. Hodges is Gas South's Vice President of External Affairs and Human Resources and is responsible for human resources, legislative and regulatory affairs, public relations, community involvement and business development. She has been with Gas South since its 2006 formation and has more than 25 years of experience in the utility industry. Meredith received a master's degree in human resource development from Georgia State University and a bachelor's degree from Washington & Lee University. She also is a graduate of Leadership Georgia 2012. Meredith serves on the board of College Park First Methodist Church and mentors professional women through the Pathbuilders® program. She previously served on the Georgia Professional Standards Commission, the boards of the Georgia Society of St Vincent de Paul, and H.E.A.T. as well as held volunteer positions with the Woodruff Arts Center and CFY-Atlanta. In 2013, Meredith was recognized as one of Georgia's Most Powerful and Influential Women by the Georgia Diversity Council and received the Guiding Star Award from the Executive Women of Goizueta at Emory University's Business School in 2011.

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