Jacksonville Celebrates 500 Graduate Milestone, New Downtown Office With Open House Event

On Wednesday, June 26, Generation hosted community members, local employers, nonprofit leaders, and prospective students at an open house celebration. The event recognized a significant milestone for the organization: more than 500 Jacksonville program graduates. The open house was held at the new Jacksonville office located at 320 East Adams Street and was sponsored by Early Upgrade.

“Generation is proud of the strong partnerships we have built in Jacksonville that have helped us serve more than 500 students,” said Darryl Willie, special advisor for Generation USA. “This open house celebrates the graduates who have launched new careers with Generation and the future students we will serve in our new downtown office space.”

Generation is an independent, global nonprofit organization with the vision of a career-launching job for every young person, anywhere in the world. Today, Generation has an alumni base of more than 28,000 global graduates who have earned more than $100 million in cumulative wages after completing Generation programs.

Generation began their first Jacksonville employment training program in 2016 and currently offers three unique employment training programs: a Customer Care program, a Customer Service Supervisor program supported by the Walmart Foundation, and an IT Help Desk Technician supported by CareerSource of Northeast Florida.  Later this year, a new Administrative Medical Assistant program will launch its first cohort of students. Although Generation programs initially focused on serving young adults, the IT Help Desk Technician program now includes “ReGeneration” participants, mid-career professionals age 40 and above who are looking to switch careers and develop new skills.

500 graduates, 500 journeys

Each Jacksonville graduate has a unique path that brought them to Generation. From job losses and underemployment to a passion for a career path not taken, Generation alumni are individuals who have worked past barriers to reach their career goals.

Jacksonville alum, Dom, shared his reflections on how his career has flourished since completing a Generation program. Before Generation, Dom was working in a minimum wage job and was unsure how to transition into a career in technology. Since graduating, Dom has become a manager at a technology company. He thanked the Generation team for unlocking and fostering the skills he needed to succeed in a new career.

The technical, job-specific skills and certifications that Generation programs provide help open doors for graduates, but for many alumni, the resume and cover letter development and job interview coaching from Generation staff were key to earning a sustainable entry-level job with room for growth.

Generation hosts job fairs with local employer partners and connects graduates with open roles in their new career field. Mentors continue to support graduates during their first six months of employment and alumni ambassadors host local gatherings to build community and provide networking opportunities.

Coming home to Downtown Jacksonville

 “Part of what makes Jacksonville so special is the immense amount of community support and energy around workforce development,” said Alex Rudnick, place based lead for Generation USA. “As the city continues to grow and thrive, we are excited to open our new office and classrooms in the vibrant downtown district.”

The open house marks the official community opening of Generation Jacksonville’s new location at 320 East Adams Street puts Generation closer to students and employer partners.

“Generation is one of a growing number of small and medium sized businesses moving back into the downtown area, an exciting development that is a strong sign of the future for downtown,” said Petra Vice President Elias Hionides. “Their move is a symbol that the nonprofit community sees downtown Jacksonville as the best place for their employees, students, and donors, and places them within walking distance Jacksonville’s civic core.”

This new location will also allow Generation to continue to foster strong connections with nonprofit organizations across the city. George Maxey, executive director of the New Town Success Zone from Edwards Waters College discussed how New Town Success Zone and Generation have worked together in the past and how the organizations will continue to impact the Jacksonville community.

“Our open house represents a celebration of three years of service and more than 500 graduates in the city of Jacksonville. It’s a major milestone for our staff, our students, our alumni, and our future students,” said Rudnick.

For more information about Generation programs in Jacksonville, visit usa.generation.org/jacksonville.