THOMASVILLE, GA (WALB) - A program that helps employ at risk students came to Thomas County Thursday morning, to discuss how the program could benefit student and businesses in the community.
Great Promise Partnership was launched by the Georgia Department of Community Affairs to encourage students to stay in school-- and provide for their family while doing it. It's a growing problem here in south Georgia. More and more students are dropping out of high school, faced with one tough challenge.
"How many of y'all have seen some young'uns stuck? And they need hope? And they need a pathway," said Laurie Murrah-Hanson, Regional Coordinator. "Having to choose between, do I drop out of school to go to work to help support my family, or do I go to school?"
Greater Promise Partnership representatives met with school officials and other members of the Thomas county community to help diminish that challenge, and give at-risk students the ability to earn a pay check and get their diploma.
"We ought to do everything we can do to give those young people a ladder. A ladder. So that they see their potential," said Mike Beatty GPP President and CEO.
The organization started in north Georgia a few years ago--- partnering manufacturing companies with high school students who were at risk of not graduating. The students kept their jobs, as long as they kept their grades up.
"Once they have the vote of confidence from someone and they have that positive mentor and they have a positive peer group, they really just blossom and really increase their self confidence," Murrah-Hanson said.
And many Thomas County officials say the program has the potential to help businesses prosper as well.
"If you're bringing them in at 16, 17, and 18 years old and training them to do these specific jobs, these are people you can potentially have in your workforce for the long term," said Lauren Basford of the Chamber of Commerce.
They say it's not just the paycheck that motivates these kids-- it's the fact that someone believes in them.