Atmos Energy is investing in Amarillo's workforce by investing in its students. Through their Robert W. Best Charitable Giving Fund, the company committed to give the Amarillo Area Foundation $150,000 over the next six years for the THRIVE Scholarship Program.

Becky Palmer, Atmos Energy West Texas division president said they were thrilled to be a part of the effort to help students pay for their post-secondary education.

"THRIVE will provide funding for graduates of any Amarillo ISD high school who meet the program requirements to earn up to 60 hours of college credit at Amarillo College for either an associate's degree or technical certification," she said. "We're ... very excited about the impact (this) will have on the future workforce here in Amarillo."

Clay Stribling, AAF president, accepted the big check on behalf of the foundation, Amarillo College, Amarillo Economic Development Corporation, and the Amarillo Independent School District, who are all partners in THRIVE.

"We're very grateful to Atmos Energy for this very generous gift to support the building of tomorrow's workforce in our region," Stribling said. "As we move forward ... the most important factor in attracting new industry and building the industry we have is to have a qualified workforce. This THRIVE program is going to be essential in our community ... to make sure that we're prepared for the next generation."

"(THRIVE is) a very good program for us to be able to not only educate future employees, but to look to our workforce to be able to develop them into leaders that we need for this company," said Michael Gonzales, Atmos Energy public affairs manager.

Palmer added that the investment is part of the "hundreds of millions of dollars" they will be spending on infrastructure in Amarillo in the coming years.

"Our mission at Atmos Energy is to be the safest provider of natural gas services," she said, "and in order to do that, we need a qualified workforce of men and women from diverse backgrounds who have a strong educational foundation."