Jobs for New Jersey's Graduates
The New Jersey Chamber of Commerce Foundation serves as the managing unit for the Jobs for America’s Graduates (JAG) program, the nation’s largest dropout prevention and recovery program serving young adults ages 12-24 since 1980. This state-based national non-profit organization is dedicated to preventing dropouts among young people who are most at-risk. In more than three decades of operation, JAG has delivered consistent, compelling results – helping more than one million young people across the country stay in school through graduation, pursue postsecondary education, and secure quality entry-level jobs leading to career advancement opportunities.
Few programs that support students with unique needs and challenges are able to report the type of impact JAG has had on more than one million students nationwide. Because the JAG model promotes both academic achievement and employability skills attainment, it allows for both cognitive and social development necessary for success beyond high school. In addition, student exposure to leadership activities, civic responsibility, and social awareness activities further leverages their readiness for employment, military, or their freshman year at a college or university.
Since 2012, students participating in Jobs for New Jersey’s Graduates have graduated at a rate of 92% to 100%--more than double the rate of their school peers. Graduation rates alone don’t tell the entire story, though. JAG students typically find employment at more than double the rate of their peers and they report changes in attitude towards education, increased attendance and optimism about their futures.
Schools currently participating in the Jobs for New Jersey’s Graduates initiative:
-Camden High School
-Carteret High School
-Barringer High School
-New Brunswick Adult Learning Center C.A.R.E.S. Program
-Vineland High School
Voices of the Jobs for America's Graduates Program.
The JAG model is implemented during the school year as an elective class. School personnel identify students with at least five barriers to success who will benefit from the competency-based employability skills curriculum. A certified teacher from the district, called a JAG Specialist, receives specialized training to implement the model. In addition, the Specialist maintains contact with students for 12 months following their graduation from high school in order to assist with positive post-graduation outcomes.
In order to implement the JAG model, there is a commitment needed from the schools/districts:
- Salary and benefits for JAG Specialist
- Release time for JAG Specialist to attend bi-monthly team meetings
- Board resolution adopting program
- Funds allocated for transportation to business field trips, college visits, two in-state conferences, JAG Specialist training and the national Student Leadership Academy in Washington, DC.
Business volunteers play an integral role in the success of the Jobs for New Jersey’s Graduates initiative. If you are interested in any of the opportunities below, please register on the volunteers page.
- Volunteers to bring the business perspective to classrooms by discussing a wide range of employability skills and employer expectations.
- Tours of employer facilities to expose students to a variety of jobs, dress codes, peer interactions, and business culture.
- Student mentoring, which can happen in the school setting or be integrated into on-site employer visits.
- Job shadowing or internships for high school students.
- Serve on a panel of business judges for statewide or regional student competitions.