Oklahoma City, OK (STL.News) Governor Kevin Stitt today joined Jobs for America’s Graduates (JAG), a national nonprofit that serves the nation’s youth who face significant academic, environmental and economic challenges, to launch a new state affiliate in Oklahoma.
“I am thrilled to join Jobs for America’s Graduates to launch JAG-OK in our great state,” said Gov. Stitt. “In its four decades of operation, JAG has delivered consistent and compelling results. I am confident this new program will play a critical role in removing barriers to graduation and employment by helping our most vulnerable youth succeed in school, pursue postsecondary education and secure quality entry-level jobs that lead to career advancement opportunities.”
Currently, JAG-OK programs have been implemented at Midwest City High School, Bartlesville High School, Wewoka High School, Capitol Hill High School in Oklahoma City, Broken Arrow High School and Star Spencer High School, with plans to expand to additional schools across Oklahoma in the future.
“JAG-OK works with students facing a variety of challenges – including academic, economic, social and more – helping them stay in school, pursue higher education and secure gainful employment, said David Kurt, JAG-OK State Director. “The results of the program have been so inspiring across the country, so we’re proud that Oklahoma is the most recent state to adopt the JAG model and serve as a lifeline to the most vulnerable youth in our local communities.”
The JAG program includes classroom instruction, competency-based project-based learning, adult mentoring, summer employment training, student-led leadership development, job and postsecondary education placement services and 12-month follow-up services.
JAG serves more than 76,000 young people each year, who consistently achieve outstanding results, including a 95% graduation rate. JAG graduates are also 230% more likely to be employed full-time compared to their peers and twice as likely to go to college.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and resulting school closures, JAG has pivoted to a virtual model to continue providing uninterrupted services to its students.
“The 76,000 students that JAG serves across 39 states have been hit the hardest – and likely will be impacted for the longest – by the COVID pandemic. They need us more than ever. Many were experiencing significant barriers before the crisis hit, and now those scenarios are even more acute, given the loss of jobs and income many are facing,” said Ken Smith, President of Jobs for America’s Graduates.
“There’s wide-range uncertainty on the delivery of education for the 2020/2021 school year, due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Despite this, JAG will continue delivering its engaging program in 1,450+ locations, serving the students that need us the most at a time when employability skills are incredibly important in such a tough job market,” Smith continued.
As part of his commitment to the organization, Gov. Stitt also joins 13 other governors from both major parties in serving on the JAG National Board of Directors. Governor John Bel Edwards (D-LA) and Governor Kim Reynolds (R-IA) serve as the Chair and Vice Chair of the organization, which has more governors on its board than any organization in the United States.