Jobs for Arizona's Graduates (JAG) has recently received a generous $400,000 grant from the Governor's Office of Youth, Faith, and Family (GOYFF) to expand our Career and College Readiness Program. This funding, allocated under the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) Grant Program, is a significant step towards empowering Arizona's youth, specifically those aged 16-24 who may be disconnected from traditional educational paths or the workforce.
JAG’s primary focus is to strengthen our Career and College Readiness Program, aiming to enhance existing resources and reach more young individuals who would benefit from additional support to obtain their high school diploma or GED. JAG programming spans across Cochise, Maricopa, Pima, Pinal, and Yavapai counties, aiming to equip participants with essential skills for the job market and post-secondary education. Additionally, JAG assists in identifying career paths aligning with individual goals and skill sets, guiding towards industry-recognized credentials.
To complement this primary objective, JAG employs the Career and College Readiness program model accredited by Jobs for America’s Graduates, focusing on marketable workplace skills, emphasizing the importance of a diploma or GED for future career goals, and facilitating connections with local employers in high-demand industries. Furthermore, JAG provides post-graduation support, guiding and assisting participants for a year to ensure a smooth transition into employment or further education.
The impact of JAG's initiative is evident in the Class of 2022 graduates, demonstrating remarkable outcomes with 76% employed, 82% in full-time employment, and an impressive 96% engaged in post-secondary education and/or employment.
However, to continue and expand these successful endeavors, JAG is allocating a significant portion of the grant toward additional program support personnel. The proposed JAG Program Support Specialists will work in tandem with the dedicated JAG Coordinators, ensuring the delivery of high-quality services, data collection, compliance, and vital support for the existing staff.
The newly appointed Program Support Specialists will work closely with various high schools and community programs, including La Joya Community, West Point, Westview, Camp Verde, Coolidge, Gila Bend, Copper Canyon, Guadalupe JAG Works, Paradise Valley, Peoria, Sunrise Mountain, Shadow Mountain, Sierra Linda, Coronado, Tohono O'odham, Tolleson Union, Tolleson JAG Works, Tonopah Valley, Wickenburg, and others.
With an eye on future expansion, JAG is planning to introduce new programs at Ajo High School and Valley Union High School in July 2024, further broadening our impact on the community.
JAG's commitment to empowering and supporting Arizona's youth is evident. With the aid of this grant, we aim to continue guiding and nurturing the potential of these young individuals, ensuring they are well-equipped for the future, whether in the workforce or higher education.