//City of Valdosta gives VHS seniors great promise

City of Valdosta gives VHS seniors great promise

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The City of Valdosta is giving local students a great promise for the future with an internship program to gain job skills.


On Monday, January 10, the Great Promise Partnerships Program held an employee onboarding orientation for incoming Valdosta High School seniors Aiyana Matchett, Samara Willis, Jessiah Ogundu, Aaliyah Daniels, and Tyren Martin. These students will embark on a career training experience of a lifetime with the City of Valdosta as part of the Great Promise Partnership Program (GPP). The city is committed to providing local students up to two years of employment, job training, life skills, mentoring, and income as incentives to finish high school through the GPP program.

Valdosta High School seniors at the City of Valdosta during the Great Promise Partnership Program employee orientation.

“The program is designed to reach at-risk students who may not have the option to go to college either because of finances or grades. The GPP introduces them to the workforce and allows them to learn new skill sets,” said Anitra Riley, Neighborhood Development Coordinator.

Valdosta was one of the first municipalities in Georgia to participate in the statewide initiative. 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 earning a paycheck.

“A lot of times, high school students will think they know what they want to do, and then we thrust them into the real world, and they change their mind because they did not fully understand what that entailed. Programs like these allow them to get a foot in the door and see what it is like to be a part of the workforce in a real way. This program allows them to work with mentors from the city of Valdosta all well gaining employability skills,” said Aqila Blankumsee, Work Base Learning Coordinator for Valdosta City Schools.

These internships are funded through the City of Valdosta’s Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program, an economic development initiative that provides –among other assistances-employment opportunities and training for low to moderate-income persons. Many students have even gone on to gain employment with the city after graduation from the GPP. This year’s students began officially began work following their orientation in the following departments:

  • Aiyana Matchett-Customer Service
  • Samara Willis-Public Works
  • Jessiah Ogundu-Meter Reading
  • Aaliyah Daniels- Customer Service
  • Tyren Martin- Community Protection

For more information, contact Neighborhood Development Coordinator Anitra Riley at 229-671-3617.