BATON ROUGE - Today, Gov. John Bel Edwards announced that Louisiana will expand the number of Jobs for America’s Graduates (JAG) programs from 69 to 115 sites for the 2016-2017 school year. With this expansion, Louisiana now ranks among the states with the highest number of JAG programs in the country. JAG is a 36-year-old nationwide non-profit program that has helped more than one million young people facing difficult challenges earn their high school diploma or equivalency degree, successfully receive post-secondary education, and find meaningful employment.
“The success of the JAG program is undeniable,” said Gov. Edwards. “I am committed to making this program readily available to more Louisiana students this year and giving them the support and resources they need to stay in school and graduate. Some of our kids face tremendous hardships that can often make it difficult for them to continue their education. JAG helps students overcome those odds. When we invest in our children’s futures we invest in Louisiana’s future, and I am excited about the expansion of this important program.”
This year, JAG-LA expanded from 30 to 37 school districts and serves approximately 4,600 middle and high school students, along with out-of-school youth working to complete a high school equivalency diploma. JAG-LA will also begin serving students in Type 2 Charter Schools, an Office of Juvenile Justice alternative school, and will pilot a program in a virtual charter school for the first time.
“This increased support for the JAG program will further the success of some of our state’s most challenged students,” said State Superintendent of Education John White. “Moving forward, the department will further align the JAG-LA program with Jump Start. JAG-LA’s job skill training emphasis will greatly assist Jump Start students in achieving success in a professional career following high school.”
Jump Start is Louisiana’s innovative career and technical education program that provides a career readiness course, mentors, internships, career and interest inventory testing, and JAG specialist training to help with financial aid planning.
Key private sector partners who were instrumental in expanding JAG-LA for the coming year include: AT&T, Entergy, and Regions Bank. Further funding for JAG–LA was provided by Delta Regional Authority, Louisiana Workforce Commission, and the national JAG program.
This is the first time JAG-LA has incorporated private donations in its funding. This partnership enables Louisiana to maximize its use of federal dollars that have been available for years but have not been utilized until now.
“On behalf of the entire JAG Board of Directors, we are delighted to see Governor Edwards already exercising bold leadership in directing JAG-LA this coming school year to become one of the highest performing of all our 34 state affiliates,” said Ken Smith, President and Co-Founder of Jobs for America’s Graduates. “Governor Edwards has joined 10 other governors from across the country to serve on the JAG Board, making this the largest number of governors serving on any Board in the nation.”
2015 JAG-LA Results and Student Success: