What is Jobs for America’s Graduates – New Mexico?
Jobs for America’s Graduates – New Mexico (JAG-NM) is a youth development program dedicated to helping at-risk young people graduate from high school and make successful transitions to postsecondary education and/or meaningful employment. JAG-NM teaches performance competencies, which are needed for students to: succeed in school, thrive in the workplace, and lead productive and fulfilling lives. JAG-NM is a state affiliate of Jobs for America’s Graduates, Inc., one of the nation’s most effective programs in assisting high-risk youth successfully complete school and move into higher education and/or the job market. For more information visit www.jag.org.
Who are JAG-NM Students and How Are They Eligible for the Program?
JAG-NM students, identified by their high school and JAG-NM staff, are among those at the highest risk of disengaging and/or dropping out of school. JAG-NM students typically are in need of additional support in order to make a successful transition from high school to adulthood. Some of the most common barriers include:
- Low income household (80% of JAG-NM students)
- Underperforming academically (57%)
- Excessive absences (51%)
What Does JAG-NM Do For Its Students?
The JAG Model provides students with skills and motivation they need to succeed. Through JAG-NM programs, high school and middle school students discover their individual talents, develop skills, and seize opportunities to achieve their personal potential. Mentoring plays a critical role in the success of JAG-NM and the success of the students. The programs provide for plenty of one-on-one time between students and the specialists who teach them. JAG-NM also offers a venue for students to interact with employers, postsecondary education institutions and community-based organizations.
How is JAG-NM Funded and Administered?
Funding is provided by the U.S. Department of Education Carl D. Perkins Career & Technical Education Act from the College and Career Readiness Bureau of the New Mexico Public Education Department. The New Mexico Business Roundtable (NMBR) sponsors JAG-NM. NMBR’s leadership of the program helps ensure the full range of employment and career opportunities for youth, maximizing their long-term success, and contributes to growth and expansion of the program statewide. The State Director administers the program through NMBR. The JAG-NM program is a for-credit course, which serves students from 9th-12 grades and continues to serve each student for 12 months after they graduate.
A full-time teaching Specialist, employed by participating school districts across New Mexico, teaches the JAG curriculum to 35-45 students (in class sizes of 10-15). The student-to-teacher ratio allows for plenty of one-on-one time. The JAG program teaches 37 core competencies comprised of six skill sets: personal skills, leadership skills, communication skills, job attainment skills, job success skills, and career development skills. Students learn about time management, personal finance, teambuilding, good work habits, and community service. The Specialists also offer students help with their other subjects.
How Does JAG-NM Benefit the Community?
At least 90% of JAG-NM seniors graduate from high school and 45% pursued postsecondary education in 2015. JAG-NM prepares students to continue their education and to be valuable assets to the workforce. Graduates of JAG-NM become productive, contributing residents. Through business partners and community service projects, our students become connected and engaged in their communities and in the state.
2015-2016 Participating Schools
The JAG Multi-Year Dropout Prevention Model operates in Bernalillo High School, Mora High School, Twin Buttes High School and Zuni High School on the Zuni Reservation and Rio Grande High School in Albuquerque. Independence High School in Rio Rancho and Robert F. Kennedy Charter School in Albuquerque implement the Alternative Education Model.
JAG-NM Results – Class of 2015
- 97% Return to School Rate – Students remained in school and returned to school the following year.
- 98% Graduation Rate – Seniors earn a high school diploma or GED while enrolled in JAG-NM.
- 83 % Positive Outcome Rate – Graduates are employed, in the military, in postsecondary training, or some combination thereof at the end of JAG-NM Follow-Up Services.
- 62% Employment Rate – Graduates secure and maintain quality employment.
The JAG Model: Comprehensive, Practical, Proven, Accountable, Cost Effective
- Classroom Instruction. A trained “JAG Specialist” provides individual and group instruction to 35-45 students in a class delivered for credit during the school day.
- Employability Skills. The JAG CURRICULUM equips participants with employability, life, leadership and academic skills required to succeed in high school, secure employment and transition to a postsecondary institution.
- Adult Mentoring. Specialists (JAG teachers) provide 120 contact hours and the individual attention at risk students need to overcome barriers that stand in the way of personal and academic success.
- Advice and Support. Specialists provide guidance as students make significant career and life decisions and connect participants to other social and education services in the community.
- Summer Employment Training. Job placement is provided and partnerships are developed with summer youth employment programs to maximize year-long learning.
- Student-Led Leadership Development. Participants join a highly motivating student-led Career Association to develop, practice and refine their leadership and teaming skills and serve their communities.
- Job and Postsecondary Education Placement Services. Employer marketing and assistance with postsecondary education opportunities is provided by the Specialist to support their students’ postsecondary goals and successful transition to those opportunities following graduation.
- 12-Month Follow-up Services. JAG provides no less than twelve months of follow-up services and support to participants after graduation or completion of a GED to secure a job, go to college or both.
- Accountability System. A comprehensive, internet-based tracking and reporting system that includes information on the participants served, services delivered and performance outcomes.
- Cost Effective Approach. The average cost per participant is $1,02-. Considerably less than other programs with the same goals.
The New Mexico JAG organizationhas earned the highest honor awarded to any State Affiliate – the Jobs for America’s Graduates “5-of-5 National Performance Award.”
This award is presented to recognize the achievement of the Class of 2015, for whom JAG completed services on May 31, 2016. After graduating in May 2015, graduates were provided with 12 months of intensive follow-up support to ensure that they transition successfully into employment, higher education, or both. The JAG Affiliate in your state met the most demanding goals for graduation (90%+), employment (60%+), and 80% or higher rates of full-time employment, commitment to higher education, or a combination of both for the challenging population the program serves. These results are even more remarkable given the national unemployment rate of this demographic, which is greater than four times the unemployment rate of young people in general. (And young people, in general, have the highest unemployment rate in the nation.) Further, these 90%+ graduation rates were achieved in the face of the most demanding high school graduation and career requirements in history.
Finally, the NM JAG organization also saw high levels of enrollment in higher education, at a time when college enrollments across the nation were down by approximately 500,000. This performance makes a convincing case for the value of the JAG program that you have led and supported – and of the extraordinary commitment of its leaders, front line staff, young people, schools, and employers in your state, all of whose expectations must be met or exceeded in order for the JAG Model to work so successfully across 33 states in 1,000 communities.
State Director, JAG-NM
Bernalillo High School
Independence High School
Rio Rancho, NM
Mora High School and Mora Middle School
Rio Grande High School
Twin Buttes High School and Zuni High School