As we begin a new year, we at Jobs for America’s Graduates (JAG) want to first recognize how difficult 2020 was for many of us across the country – – healthcare workers, students, teachers, the millions whose jobs were affected and the American people in general. All have been – and continue to be – impacted by the effects of the global pandemic.
It’s the exact communities JAG was founded to support that were hit the soonest and hardest by the COVID-19 pandemic, compounding the ongoing challenges of inequality many already faced. While we acknowledge the road to recovery is still being paved, we also must take the opportunity to reflect on what has been a monumental year for JAG. When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, JAG was in exactly the right places at precisely the right time. Our founding goals of equality of opportunity and outcomes were more important than ever this year – and were never more successfully fulfilled.
Jobs for America's Graduates is proud to report that even in the depths of the pandemic, a study of our students’ outcomes in May 2020 found a stunning 95.7% graduation rate and an 11.5% unemployment rate among JAG graduates. Ninety percent of JAG graduates were engaged full-time in a combination of work, post-secondary education, or military service. JAG participants achieve these incredible outcomes because of JAG’s network of support, which we lovingly call our #JAGFam. The #JAGFam not only consists of JAG Specialists who work with their students daily, but also includes public and private-sector leaders who support our organization: the 14 Governors who serve on our Board (the highest number of Governors to sit on any U.S. Board), Members of Congress, CEOs and C-Suite Executives, the JAG Council of State Affiliates and, of course, JAG participants.
As we look ahead at 2021, JAG remains more committed than ever to helping young people recover from this pandemic and the economic uncertainty that followed it. That work includes addressing inequality and trauma, ensuring youth have the resources and support to reach their full potential, and that they leave the program employed or enrolled in post-secondary education.
HERE is the Jobs for America's Graduates National Annual Report for the 2019-2020 academic year. It tells this remarkable story from multiple angles. It is a story worth telling (and re-telling) so we do hope you will forward this to a hundred of your colleagues, friends, and family members – or more. It is a story of hope and success in the face of some of the most difficult conditions in our nation’s history.
Please accept our grateful appreciation to those who support JAG and we hope you will continue to do so as we look into 2021!