JAG's innovative program supports at-risk youth as they pursue education and workforce opportunities
Media Contact: Nicole Burton
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (April 16, 2019) – Gov. Matt Bevin today welcomed the Jobs for America's Graduates (JAG) National Board of Directors meeting to the Commonwealth, as the group convened at the Seelbach Hilton in downtown Louisville. JAG is a state-based national non-profit organization dedicated to preventing dropouts among young people who have serious barriers to graduation and/or employment.
Gov. Bevin, who serves on the JAG Board of Directors, welcomed his colleagues from across the nation, as he touted the program's remarkable success in the Bluegrass State.
"We are excited to host the distinguished members of the Jobs for America's Graduates National Board of Directors to Kentucky," said Gov. Bevin. “JAG Kentucky has invested nearly $1 million in Kentucky schools to prepare the next generation of student leaders. The program’s impressive outcomes, including a 100% high school graduation rate among participants, prove the effectiveness of their powerful model. Not only is JAG equipping young people for success, it is enhancing the quality of businesses and communities all across our Commonwealth."
In more than three decades of operation, JAG has delivered consistent, compelling results — helping over one million young people stay in school through graduation, pursue postsecondary education and secure quality entry-level jobs leading to career advancement opportunities.
Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb, chair of JAG National, praised the growth of the program both regionally and nationwide.
"As chair of the JAG National organization, I am excited about the growth of JAG in Indiana, where we have the largest program in the country, and the growth of JAG across several states under the leadership of my fellow governors," said Gov. Holcomb. "Gov. Bevin has quadrupled the size of JAG Kentucky since taking office, and the organization has achieved even better results for our students, demonstrating we can scale up and enhance quality programming at the same time."
Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards, vice chair of JAG National, noted the benefits the program is yielding for individuals and for America's workforce.
"JAG brings together bipartisan leadership across the nation to bridge a gap to meet a critical need we all face in this economy, which is aligning skilled workers with the jobs of the future," said Gov. Edwards. "The program works with youth who face significant barriers to success so they are prepared to enter jobs that provide upward mobility — a true win-win."
Larry Caruso, chair of JAG Kentucky, reflected on the astounding results the program has seen in the Bluegrass State.
"JAG Kentucky is excited to welcome the JAG National Board of Directors to Kentucky," said Caruso. "JAG KY has grown tremendously over the past six years and currently serves over 2,300 students across the Commonwealth. For the fifth consecutive year, 100% of JAG Kentucky students have graduated high school, and 85.5% are employed, in postsecondary education and/or in military service 12 months after graduation."
Two JAG Kentucky students, who are classmates at Sheldon Clark High School in Martin County, shared their firsthand experiences with the program.
"JAG Kentucky is truly my hero in life," said Autumn Mills, a four-year member and current JAG Kentucky president. "It has brought me lifelong friendships, valuable lessons, unbelievable opportunities, the strength to overcome challenges, and a family who has given me the love and support I always wanted. JAG holds a special place in my heart and should be spread across the entire country to change lives like it has mine."
"For me, JAG Kentucky has gone far beyond just job applications and resumes," said Mckenzie Preston, a four-year member and current JAG Kentucky vice president of leadership development. "It has meant more to me than state competitions and field trips. This program and its amazing, supportive members have accepted me and made me feel like I actually meant something; I am not worthless. I have a future, and JAG Kentucky is my stepping stone."
For full details about the JAG program, please visit www.JAG.org.