Thursday, May 13, 2010

Year Up Atlanta and Walmart Team Up for the National 'Walk For Opportunity'

/PRNewswire/ -- In an effort to close the Opportunity Divide and promote a solution for the skilled talent shortage threatening US companies, Year Up Atlanta today kicks-off its annual "Walk for Opportunity." At this event, Year Up students, instructors, staff, community and partner companies -- including a Walmart representative -- are walking throughout Atlanta.

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation projects a shortfall of 14 million knowledge workers necessary to fuel the US economy over the next 10 years. In response, the Walk is bolstering visibility for Year Up's mission to close the Opportunity Divide -- a gulf borne from lack of access to quality education, resources, and support that prevents 4.4 million low income young adults from making the most of their potential. By providing these young adults with skills and experience, not only are they empowered to reach their potential through professional careers and post-secondary credential attainment, but they in turn provide US companies with the talent necessary to remain competitive.

"Walmart's participation in Year Up's Walk for Opportunity demonstrates our commitment to connecting Atlanta's young adults to education and job training needed for future success," said Glen Wilkins, Senior Manager of Public Affairs at Walmart. "These resources are necessary not only to strengthen communities, but also provide these individuals with valuable career opportunities."

The Walk for Opportunity is being held in six US cities, including Atlanta, Boston, New York City, Providence, San Francisco, and Washington, DC. Additional information specific to the Walk in Atlanta can be found at: http://www.yearup.org/walkforopportunity/atlanta.html.

"Year Up's Walk for Opportunity represents a united understanding that not only is Corporate America facing a growing shortage of US skilled labor, but that the solution lies in the unrealized talent of 4.4 million low-income young adults," said Gerald Chertavian, founder and CEO of Year Up. "By providing these individuals with access to resources and education, we can help them achieve their dream of establishing a family sustaining career and successfully pursuing post secondary credentials, while we supply our partner companies with this untapped pipeline of local talent."

In 2010, Year Up received a $721,500 contribution from the Walmart Foundation to help grow its site in Atlanta, Georgia, as well as launch its new office in Chicago in 2010. The grant makes it possible for Year Up not only to expand its proven model to reach more candidates in both regions, but also to change workplace hiring practices and influence how government at all levels support workforce development programs.

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