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Athens-Clarke County Manager Blaine Williams discussed the county’s ongoing response to the COVID-19 pandemic with the mayor and commission in a work session Tuesday evening. (Photo/Jason Born)

The Athens-Clarke County government announced the launch of the Athens Community Corps program, which will allow community members to work for the local government and learn career skills, according to a Sept. 25 press release.

The program's pilot will bring together a team of 10 participants for 11 months and give them full-time employment with benefits. Participants will be trained in various kinds of work activities while developing interpersonal, professional and technical skills, according to the release.

County Manager Blaine Williams first proposed the program to the mayor and commission in late March as part of a larger effort to provide financial relief to the community in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. It will be funded through the resiliency package the county passed as part of the relief effort, and will be coordinated by the county’s Economic Development Department.

The program, also known as A-Corps, is based around community projects, career exploration, comprehensive professional development and life skills and holistic support. The goal is for the program’s participants to complete meaningful community projects and gain new skills for permanent employment, according to the release.

The participants’ learning experiences will not be limited to routine physical labor. They will be exposed to job-specific training from experts and learn about work structure, logistics and resources needed to complete a work project, according to the release.

The A-Corps has an added degree of customization, which will allow participants to more precisely work toward their specific career aspirations. The participants will be able to select careers of interest and observe high-demand skills through job shadowing.

The program will also familiarize participants with the operations of the ACC government and highlight opportunities for civic engagement. Participants will be able to take part in virtual self-led and instructor-led learning in areas such as problem solving, leadership, diversity and conflict management.

“We are proud and excited to introduce a new opportunity to our residents seeking a better future for themselves and their community,” said Gustavo Rodriguez-Zaccaro, the EDD’s workforce development coordinator.

The county is accepting applications for A-Corps coordinator, A-Corps crew leader and A-Corps crew member positions until Oct. 19. Applications can be submitted at accgov.com/a-corps.

 

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