We are proud to announce that our President, Graciela Garcia Candia was recognized at the YWCA Tribute to Leadership Awards event held on March 29 at The Croft Downtown. This annual celebration recognizes the accomplishments of leaders who have a deep history in working to improve the lives of women, girls and people of color through leadership, advocacy, and community service.
The award recognizes Grace as a thoughtful leader who uses her power with the community in mind. For over a decade, she has been a volunteer member of the Latina Giving Circle, an organization that relies on its members’ time, talent and treasure to support Arizona’s communities. Two years ago, Grace and her family created a scholarship to recognize philanthropic efforts in young people and help to remove financial barriers for students seeking post-secondary education.
“I am honored and humbled to receive this recognition. There were so many amazing nominees, each with their own stories of resilience, passion and the willingness to make a difference in their communities,” Grace said. “It is truly an honor to be among a group of talented and inspiring women who change lives every day.”
An educator and leader, Jobs for Arizona’s Graduates President Graciela Garcia Candia, raised in Arizona, is a true champion to the underserved youth of Arizona. Born in Mexico in 1957, Mrs. Candia’s family immigrated to the United States when she was only three years old. Mrs. Candia is 1975 alumnus of Agua Fria Union High School and earned her Bachelors of Arts Degree from the University of Arizona in 1979.
Graciela’s affiliation with the Jobs for Arizona's Graduates program began in 1982, serving as the Program Coordinator at Tolleson Union High School. During her time at Tolleson, Mrs. Candia received numerous local and national awards for her outstanding performance. In 1999, as Program Manager, Mrs. Candia played an important role in streamlining and improving program management and services for the organization. In 2003, eager to accept the challenge, Mrs. Candia became president of Jobs for Arizona's Graduates. During her tenure, she has secured millions of dollars in financial support, created new partnerships, expanded the program sites and continues to work on strengthening relationships with state and local business, government, education and community leaders. Mrs. Candia has ensured JAG’s presence is known nationally and throughout the state of Arizona by becoming a key contributing partner to the Arizona/National College Access Network and the Opportunities for Youth Collaborative.
With a genuine “students come first” attitude and a continued desire to serve and provide quality services to the underrepresented students of Arizona, she knows this new experience has allowed for continued growth and strength in the organization. Jobs for Arizona’s Graduates have received the highest honor awarded by Jobs for America’s Graduates for the last ten years running. Mrs. Candia credits and appreciates the work done by the Board of Directors and program coordinators. Through a true representation of a team culture, their courage, vision, leadership and commitment to provide quality programs to the young people of Arizona encourage and inspire Mrs. Candia to continue the mission of Jobs for Arizona’s Graduates.
Since 1981, JAG has served over 40,000 students throughout Arizona. The Tribute to Leadership Award recognizes Grace’s deep commitment to ensuring Arizona’s students have the resources, knowledge, opportunities and the network to be successful upon high school graduation.
Grace announced her retirement last year after 41 years with the organization. She will continue to lead JAG through June and will support a smooth transition for the new CEO once the appointment of her successor is made.
Please enjoy these videos from the event:
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