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Every now and then, it hits us just how lucky we are to live here in Atlanta. So many residents work so hard to make a difference in lives of their neighbors and Ms. Jaki of Year Up Atlanta ranks among them. She works as a teacher with college-aged young adults towards building a skill set they can leverage for meaningful employment. Below is an excerpt from Year Up’s website:
The United States is home to 5 million “disconnected” young adults, or 18 to 24 year olds who have not progressed beyond a high school diploma and are neither employed nor enrolled in postsecondary education. More than 70% of low-income, minority youth in the U.S. leave high school and/or GED programs without a path toward either a post-secondary degree or a livable wage job. Year Up is a proven solution to this problem.
Year Up Atlanta is one of nine sites nationally and is a “non-profit organization that has created a one-year intensive training and education program that provides high school graduates and GED recipients with a combination of hands-on skill development and corporate internship opportunities.” During the first six months, students study skill building in technical and professional fields such as IT, financial operations, and project management. The second six months is spent honing those skills through corporate internships. By the end, students can earn up to 21 college credits.
Ms. Jaki’s class is focused on project management and chose the Atlanta BeltLine as a case study. Earlier this month, we took them out on a walking tour of the interim hiking trail alongside Piedmont Park. We stopped periodically for the students to ask questions regarding the project’s vision, goals, task activities, schedule, resources, progress, problems and solutions, evaluation of successes and failures, scope, money, materials, people, risks, and constraints. With their answers, the students are tasked with writing an essay about how project management manifests itself in building the Atlanta BeltLine.
The Atlanta BeltLine is honored that Year Up Atlanta chose to study this project. We hope that Ms. Jaki’s students will enjoy watching the trails, transit, and parks grow and develop (one of the students, Crystal, graduated from Grady High School and has seen the Eastside Trail come a long way). You can read our other stories about how classes are using the Atlanta BeltLine as an educational opportunity.