JOBS for AMERICA'S GRADUATES

Jobs for Washington’s Graduates Foundation Announces Its Executive Director

Jobs for Washington's Graduates is pleased to announce that Leslie Schmitz has joined the Jobs for Washington's Graduates (JWG) Foundation as Executive Director.  Schmitz has over twenty years of experience in corporate, government, academic and not-for-profit sectors and has expertise in strategic planning, development/fundraising and project management. 

The JWG Foundation Board of Trustees President, Mr. C.J. Venkataraman, Chief Digital Officer and Vice President for Business Operations for Vera Whole Health, “Our extensive search led us to Leslie and we are extraordinarily grateful that she has joined our team.” The JWG Foundation hopes to double the number of existing 40 JWG school-based sites and “Leslie and our JWG Foundation Board will work with the Washington State Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI), corporate leaders, foundations and private donors to expand and scale JAG programs in Washington State.”  Mr. Randy Dorn leads OSPI and serves on the JWG Foundation Board and the JAG National Board Education Leaders.  The JWG Foundation Board of Trustees also includes senior corporate leadership from Archer Daniels Midland, Mr. Shawn Lindhorst and Intellectual Ventures, Ms. Jenni Kim-Tojoi.  Also on the JAG National Board, Ms. Adriane Brown, President and Chief Operating Officer for Intellectual Ventures, will be supporting the JWG Foundation donor development and outreach.

Early in her career, Schmitz worked in Washington, D.C. as a consultant with Science Applications International Corporation supporting workforce development and organizational strategic planning for the U.S. Departments of Defense and Energy.  More recently, Schmitzposition as Director of Education with the University of Washington included providing education, awareness, and training opportunities to address health equity, diversity, and inclusiveness in Washington State’s biomedical workforce. In addition, Schmitz worked across organizations to co-create stakeholder partnerships that led to the formation of major and sustainable grant-funded, evidence-based career development programs and projects throughout Washington, Wyoming, Alaska, Montana and Idaho. 

Schmitz, the JWG Foundation Board of Trustees and OSPI will work closely with the Jobs for America’s Graduates National Office, Washington State school districts including JWG Specialists, and local and national business partners.  Schmitz will oversee all aspects of JWG Foundation fundraising, volunteer and donor relations.   

Schmitz is a former student athlete with the University of Washington and master’s level rower for the Potomac Boat Club in Washington, D.C., and "knows the power and promise in bringing people together to achieve extraordinary goals."  Schmitz is thrilled "beyond words" to be stepping into the role of Executive Director for the Jobs for Washington's Graduates Foundation and wholeheartedly dedicates her passions and talents to this important JWG and JAG mission.  

For more information on Jobs for Washington’s Graduates Foundation, contact:  JWG Foundation Executive Director at LSchmitz@jobsforWAgrads.org• 206.291.8737 • JWG Foundation. P.O. Box 52932, Bellevue, WA 98015.

If you have questions about Jobs for Washington's Graduates or want to get involved, contact Mary Kanikeberg, OSPI–JWG Program Supervisor at JWG@k12.wa.us• (360) 725-4964 or Leslie Schmitz.

About Jobs for Washington’s Graduates

Jobs for Washington’s Graduates (JWG) is the Washington State affiliate of Jobs for America’s Graduates. Watch a YouTube video describing JAG: http://youtu.be/SP-vP8fkCto

Watch the JWG story here: http://youtu.be/rIAUncR00M4

The mission of Jobs for Washington’s Graduates is to help youth overcome life and academic obstacles enabling them to stay in school, graduate and successfully transition to continued education and quality entry-level careers.

JWG Class of 2014 students achieved a 95% graduation rate – substantially better than the Washington statewide 4-year grad rate of 77.2% and 5-year grad rate of 79.9%.