Originally published at southerncompany.mediaroom.com. Southern Company ranked No. 20 on The DiversityInc Top 50 Companies for Diversity list in 2021.
Georgia Power announced a new education equity initiative in partnership with four Georgia school districts, designed to support impactful local programs in communities of color and facilitate holistic generational change. The program represents a $3 million investment that will address specific needs and opportunities identified by local school districts focused on improving career readiness and multigenerational economic stability.
The four districts that have been selected for the pilot program are Clayton County Public Schools (Atlanta), Dougherty County School System (Albany), Richmond County School System (Augusta) and Savannah-Chatham County Public School System. Enhancing education equity — spanning multiple areas such as early childhood, K-12, higher education and promoting equitable education policy — is one of Georgia Power’s social justice pillars, with the company committed to improving and strengthening education in underserved communities to help students of all ages build brighter futures.
“Education is the foundation upon which our state’s economy is built. The stronger and more equitable we can make the experience for learners at every level, the higher the potential for every Georgian and every community,” said Bentina Terry, Senior Vice President, Region External Affairs for Georgia Power. “At Georgia Power, we’re focused on making investments that move the needle and generate opportunity for real, inclusive economic growth. We are excited to work with these school districts, and the hundreds of educators working tirelessly every day, to improve student and family educational outcomes through this innovative program.”
Georgia Power is collaborating with the individual school districts as they use the funds to create or further enhance impactful programs, with the goal of building programs that can be sustained through additional partner funding or community support. Additionally, the company will help to facilitate the exchange of best practices among the districts and manage the overall initiative, while the individual districts will select, implement and monitor programs in their areas and develop key performance indicators to track progress.
School districts participating in the new initiative were selected based on interviews with key influencers in the education space and on research on family poverty rates, unemployment, access to early learning, Kindergarten readiness, postsecondary preparedness and postsecondary attainment. Each district is developing plans to support early learners, birth to age 3, through literacy and wraparound services. Another top priority for the four districts is engaging parents in school activities and skills training. While plans are being finalized in advance of the 2022/2023 school year, programs are expected to include the following.
- Clayton County Public Schools will utilize the funding to improve career readiness and workforce opportunities for graduating seniors; focus on improving access to early education by working with child caring organizations in the county to increase kindergarten readiness; expand its work-based learning program; and to create a soft skills academy for students.
- Dougherty County School System will use the funding to develop a career-focused high school graduation option for students that includes expanding Career, Technical and Agricultural Education (CTAE) pathways with paid internships, career guidance, technical training and opportunities to earn industry certifications. The district also will strengthen partnerships with business and community organizations to increase the talent pipeline for specific, technical career fields by reskilling and upskilling underemployed and unemployed adults. In addition to the career-focused initiatives, the district will provide schools with resources for STEM enrichment and education.
- Richmond County School System will use funding to expand opportunities for high school students to have hands-on work experience in the Students2Work program. Additionally, the school system will implement Parent University to connect families with resources, training and tools that support student learning and promote academic success.
- Savannah-Chatham County Public School System will use the funding to implement a K-12 STEM/STEAM track, enhance early childhood learning and address barriers that impede postsecondary and/or career success. The district also will improve alignment to regional workforce needs and expand student learning opportunities that include employability skills and training, transportation and support to enhance work-based learning experiences.
Georgia Power’s longstanding commitment to improving education and supporting the state’s educators includes workforce development programs, power plant tours, partnerships with various education nonprofits and the company’s marquee Learning Power program. Since launch in 2011, Learning Power has partnered with educators to reach more than 900,000 students across the state of Georgia with hands-on, STEM-based energy and energy efficiency lessons at all grade levels, Pre-K through high school. Learn more at www.GeorgiaPower.com/Education.