Connections Graduate Program (CGP)

The Connections Graduate Program (CGP) is designed to prepare Georgia Preparatory Academy and GED graduates opportunities for college and/or careers that demand them to be intelligent, skilled and critical thinkers.  As graduates plan to transition back to their communities, CGP will prepare them to adjust to everyday, educational or professional life and empower them to understand the social, moral and legal implications of what they do.  CGP curriculum provides in-depth exposure to a range of disciplines that assists graduates to be college, career, of life-ready upon their release from the Department of Juvenile Justice.

Mission Statement

The Connections Graduate Program is dedicated to providing opportunities for graduates to obtain college, career and life skills that promote personal growth and development.

Vision Statement

It is our vision that each graduate will transition into the community as a cultured and refined student, employee or employer functioning as a productive member of society.

Guiding Principle

From Correction to Connection

Five-Point Programmatic Thrusts

  1. Educational Development

  2. Employability Development

  3. Leadership Development

  4. Life Skills & Enrichment Development

  5. Wellness Development

The CGP collaborates with community partners to offer various opportunities to graduates in support of the Five Programmatic Thrusts. Graduates are exposed to:


eCore is a collaborative program of the University System of Georgia (USG), in which affiliate institutions collaborate to offer general education courses to students in an online setting. CGP graduates enrolled in eCore are taught by highly qualified instructors who are employed at SACSCOC accredited colleges and universities in USG. Course credits earned through eCore are awarded by the affiliate home institution, and are transferable within the USG as well as to other regionally accredited institutions.  


GeorgiaBest stands for Business Employability Skills Training and is offered through the Georgia Department of Labor (GDOL).  The lesson plans have been developed to teach top soft skills (punctuality, teamwork, communication, attitude, and more) required to be successful in the workforce.  Graduates are presented certificates to serve as an advantage on their resumes, college applications, and in job interviews.  Georgia businesses recognize the importance of GeorgiaBEST and understand that GeorgiaBEST participants have gone above and beyond to prepare themselves for the workplace.  




Home Depot Career Planning Workshop

The Home Depot Career Planning Workshop is a three-module session facilitated over an eight-week period.  Home Depot leadership facilitates a curriculum focused on developing and enhancing career planning and job readiness skills.  Graduates have a chance to interact and engage in discussions, activities, and lectures while obtaining information that help to hone skills in preparation of a job or career.  The one-on-one dialogue with Home Depot leaders proves to be a highlight for graduates as graduates can ask specific job related questions of decision makers.  At the end of eight weeks, graduates participate in an off-site graduation ceremony to celebrate their completion of the modules.  



Library Systems of Georgia

CGP has collaborated with library systems of Georgia to offer graduates library cards affording them online opportunities to check out library books, audio books, music, and gain access to resources that overall improve their quality of life.  Various libraries within the state are providing information and encouraging reading, literacy, and continued education through equal access to information for all Georgians.  Youth returning to their communities will be able to use library cards to obtain college and career information, resources to assist in their reentry, and support for their personal growth and development.  

 RESPECT Program

The Technical College System of Georgia's Office of Workforce Development partners with DJJ to assist in providing training in soft skills to youth in the CGP.  RESPECT (Re-Entry Skills Preparation & Educational Career Training) is a program that helps youth plan for successful re-entry.  After completing the 10-chapter workbook, participants receive a certificate of completion.  


ServSafe is a food and beverage safety training and certificate program administered by the National Restaurant Association. The program is accredited by ANSI and the Conference for Food Protection. Sanitation certification is required by most restaurants as a basic credential for their management staff. Graduates will have a chance to obtain a ServSafe Food Protection Manager Certifications.  The certificate expires five years of the date the certificate was awarded.  



Developed at the University of Oregon School of Education, WAGES (Working At Gaining Employment Skills) is a curriculum to teach adolescents job-related social skills. WAGES contains 33 lessons, each designed to be taught within a 40- to 50-minute period along with complementary activities suited to be delivered in a nine-week term. The WAGES design includes incorporating the purpose of each lesson, learning outcomes, a review of a previous lesson, required materials, vocabulary to focus on, activities, and a wrap up.  This curriculum also allows the chance to put communication skills to the test through employer mock interviews.




Division of Education
3408 Covington Highway
Decatur, GA 30032-1513

Avery Niles, Superintendent
Jean Ferguson Lee, Associate Superintendent
Zane Shelfer, Assistant Superintendent

Carrie T. Hamilton-Shavers, CGP Coordinator
Phone: (404) 508-6512
Fax: (770) 357-8434

CGP Locations CGP Instructors
Atlanta YDC Teresa Willis |
Augusta YDC Tiffany Agnew |
Eastman YDC Elinor Goode |
Macon YDC Corinthian French |
Milledgeville YDC Frank Usher |
Muscogee YDC Detra Harvey |
Sumter YDC Zalea Temple|