JAG Founders and Leaders – Marty Shultz, Cathy McKee Oleson, Carolyn Warner and Ken Smith with student leaders David Rodriguez and Ashley Rodriguez.
The JAG Programming began in 1979, when Governor Pete du Pont of Delaware initiated a School-to-Work Transition Program as an answer to the high percentage of underemployed and unemployed high school graduates. In collaboration with business associates, community and education leaders, the JAG Senior Program began in 8 schools. Jobs for America’s Graduates was established in 1980 to provide additional states with access to the JAG Model. From this humble beginning Jobs for America’s Graduates has grown into a state-based national non-profit organization currently operating programs in 33 states 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 nearly three-quarters of a million young people stay in school through graduation, pursue post secondary education and secure quality entry-level jobs leading to career advancement opportunities.
In 1980, Arizona adopted and implemented the Jobs for America’s Graduates School-to-Work Transition Model for high school seniors. In 1990, Jobs for Arizona’s Graduates (JAG) was established as a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization with the leadership of key business and community representatives including: Cathy McKee, David Howell, Rob Melnick and others. Over the past 30 years, over 30,000 young people have received JAG services and gone on to become accountants, nurses, teachers, business owners, fire fighters and even elected government officials.
Today, JAG has 29 programs in Arizona schools serving over 1,300 students and is consistently exceeding the national standards set by Jobs for America’s Graduates.