Jobs for America’s Graduates (JAG) is a state-based national non-profit organization dedicated to preventing dropouts among young people who are most at-risk. Moses Lake High School offers this program.
JAG has 34 years of successful data backing it which proves the graduates of this program have a plan for their future, the intellect to succeed against the odds, a detailed plan for post-secondary training, work, or military service, and a confident and well established skill set to face the adult world into which he/she will be entering.
The JAG National model is based on 81 competencies which students need to successfully master from their 9th to 12th grade year. The competencies are based on nine subcategories: career development, job attainment, job survival, basic skills, leadership and self-development, personal skills, life survival, and work place skills.
Amador Castro, JAG Specialist
”I don’t like teaching JAG, I love it. We all have barriers that can hold us back from achieving the things we want. The majority of my students see these barriers and it is easy to want to just give up. Whether it is because someone told them they wouldn’t amount to anything or they just simply don’t see a way out. That’s what I’m here for. We create a family environment in the classroom. They will call each other out on their issues and hold each other accountable. I also love that we get opportunities to do things a typical class doesn’t. We’ve been able to take students to Washington DC and be a part of a Student Leadership Conference and also to the Great Wolf Lodge for student competitions. It’s amazing to see, when given these opportunities, how they come out of their shells, feel confident, stand proud and wow the judges. Those are the moments I love the most. My main focus for my freshmen is to help them figure out what they are really into. Not just video games but real things. They take assessments which help them see what type of work they would be good at. With my upper class-men my goal is to help them master the JAG competencies and of course help them gain employment. I know it works when the students come to me and ask for help in dealing with people or management in the work place.”
Bobi Spence, JAG Specialist
“Amado and I teach ALL grades of JAG. Most of the students are referred to each of the programs by classroom teachers, administrators, parents or counselors. Thus far, a few students have asked to come in to the program as they have heard about it from other students. We began these two programs 4 years ago. JAG is the tool I use to reach the students who may or may not fit the traditional classroom model. These students are bright, innovative thinkers, and challenge you to keep one step ahead of them and the world they live in today. JAG allows them to see beyond their present space and time to the world they want, and gives them a blueprint for reaching that goal via a method more innovative than they may have ever dreamed possible. We use real life lessons, workplace skill set modeling, guest speakers, field trips, work based learning experiences, and student success curriculum from Stephen Covey and others like him, to support the needs of our students. We do home visits, parent phone calls, empowering student discussions, and mentoring to reach out to the students and their parents.”
Vicki Groff, Moses Lake School Board Member
“Anytime the opportunity is presented to prevent dropouts among young people, help them stay in school through graduation, pursue post-secondary education and secure quality entry level jobs leading to advancement opportunities, my interested is piqued. I first became aware of JAG in 2011, and shortly after was invited to participate as a member of their advisory board. The scope of the curriculum combined with the quality of our Moses Lake High School instructors has provided personal growth for the many students who have chosen to participate. Not only are the character traits of courage, integrity, commitment and citizenship embedded within the curriculum, the ‘soft skills’ attributes of personal and professional communication, interpersonal relationship building, time management, honesty and adaptability are woven into instruction. JAG students improve their prospects for entry level jobs. JAG is helping students develop the ability to transfer vision into reality. From my perspective as a Moses Lake School Director, I see the positive results JAG students receive as they explore the values taught and how they can be exemplified in daily life.”
Christine Armstrong, CTE Director
“JAG is one of the most beneficial programs for students that I have been a part of in my twenty-nine years in education for the at-risk student. The program at MLHS is successful because of the instructors chosen. They care about all aspects of the student and building their self-esteem so that they can be successful in all areas of life.”
If you are interested in offering your support in any capacity for these students with barriers, please contact Amador Castro at firstname.lastname@example.org or Bobi Spence at email@example.com, your school board members, or Josh Meeks, Principal at Moses Lake High School. They are very willing to share the goals and outcome of JAG with you or your community organization.
The JAG Model is very cost effective. An average cost of $1,470 per participant that can be recovered in taxes once that JAG person is employed within an approximation of 14 month and provides no less than twelve months of follow-up services and support to graduates for entry-level employment and or post-secondary enrollment. We are fortunate to have such an outstanding program and dedicated team of professionals to move our children forward in these unpredictable times.