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Reliant Donates $150K to Career Gear Houston

—Nonprofit empowers disadvantaged men to achieve economic independence —

HOUSTON–(BUSINESS WIRE)–#CareerGear–Career Gear Houston received a $150,000 boost today from Reliant to empower disadvantaged men through professional development, support and attire needed to gain meaningful employment. The donation will support the “SkillUp” IT Incubator program, which offers beginner and intermediate instruction to train individuals for employment in the stable and growing field of Information Technology. The Houston chapter of the national nonprofit will use the funds to expand the program from mainly veterans to include high school students, men who have been previously incarcerated, and the homeless.

“Many individuals in the Houston community are facing enormous economic and personal hardships that have prevented them from obtaining career-based certifications and education,” said Jamay Schardien, executive director of Career Gear Houston. “These opportunities can be life changing for many of the men who go through our program. Our hope is that our students leave here with the confidence and knowledge they need to excel in their new careers.”

“This donation will help provide a foundation that these individuals can build upon to gain the skills needed for successful careers,” said Elizabeth Killinger, president of Reliant. “We are honored to be a part of this inspirational program that is ‘Powering Change’ in our community and making a positive impact on the lives of many deserving Houstonians.”

The SkillUp IT Incubator program is designed to target individuals who are not able to obtain “living wage” employment due to lack of education or opportunities. Its goal is to increase employability in the IT field by providing access to free training and reduced or free exam fees for necessary certifications in IT programming. Upon graduation, participants will have the earning potential of $24-$86 dollars an hour based on what is typical for these certifications, and every student is able to obtain a paid internship upon completion of their course work to gain professional IT experience.

There are no educational requirements to be admitted, allowing for individuals without post-secondary degrees the opportunity to apply and be accepted. The incubator program offers hands-on learning and flexible classes that are available to participants both online and in person, with an average class size of about 15-20 students per cohort. Career Gear Houston, with the help of Reliant’s $150,000 donation, has ensured that those entering the program will be provided this opportunity free of charge, including all books and training materials.

“Career Gear Houston stands out because they are genuinely concerned with helping their graduates secure a job. In addition to helping us become a skilled worker, they also connect us with employers, provide valuable mentoring and enable us to succeed with resources like professional attire. We share the same goal: to help me secure a job so I can provide for myself and my family,” said Alan Burke, Career Gear Houston SkillUp participant.

The $150,000 donation is part of Reliant and parent company NRG’s “Powering Change” initiative, which has committed $1 million toward organizations and initiatives that combat racial inequities, injustice and related violence. For additional information, visit reliant.com/community.

About Career Gear

Career Gear is a non-profit organization that empowers low-income and disadvantaged men by providing them with the necessary tools to achieve self-sufficiency and support their families. The help to build a stronger community by providing low income men with the opportunity to enhance their IT and financial literacy skills in order to promote economic independence. Career Gear serves its community by offering career-development, job-readiness, IT professional experience, and professional attire to better prepare men for a long-standing career in the IT workforce. For more information about Career Gear, visit https://careergearhouston.org.

About Reliant

Reliant powers, protects and simplifies life by bringing electricity, security and related services to homes and businesses across Texas. Serving customers and the community is at the core of what we do, and the company is recognized nationally for outstanding customer experience. Reliant is part of NRG, a Fortune 500 company that creates value by generating electricity and providing energy solutions to more than 3.5 million residential and commercial customers across the U.S. and Canada. NRG’s competitive residential electricity business, which includes Reliant, is one of the largest in the country. For more information about Reliant, visit reliant.com and connect with Reliant on Facebook at facebook.com/reliantenergy and Twitter or Instagram @reliantenergy. PUCT Certificate #10007.


Megan Talley, Reliant, 713-537-2160, Megan.Talley@reliant.com
Jamay Schardien, Career Gear, 713-261-3894, Jamay@careergearhouston.org


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