JAG's History

JAG helps young people of truly great promise succeed both in school and on-the-job, leading to a productive and rewarding career. Jobs for America’s Graduates is led by a public/private partnership at the national level, comprised of leading Governors, C-Suite Executives among the Fortune 500 and national community leaders. It is organized to support State Affiliates in the high-impact delivery of the JAG Model across middle school, high school, and out-of-school and collegiate young adult populations. JAG is proud to have served over 1.4 million young people since 1980.

The JAG Model

The JAG Model consists of a comprehensive set of services designed to keep young people in school through graduation and improves their success rates in education and career. 

Classroom Instruction. A trained JAG Specialist provides individual and group instruction to 35-45 students carefully selected by an in-school advisory committee comprised of faculty, administrators, and counselors. JAG classes are scheduled during the school day for credit.

Competency-Based Instruction. The JAG program equips students with no less than 37 employability skills competencies  plus career exploration and developmental. Multi-year JAG students are eligible to master 81 competencies.

Project Based Learning. PBL methodology creates engaging classrooms to deliver JAG competencies, allowing students  to participate realistic learning experiences that better reflect the work place.

Trauma Informed and Caring Adults. JAG Specialists provide individual attention to students to overcome barriers that prevent them from taking advantage of their high school education, completing requirements for a high school diploma and/or securing employment or pursuing a post-secondary education leading to a career after high school.

Advice and Support. JAG Specialists provide advice and support as students make significant career and life decisions and serve as a “one-stop” connection for participants to access personal, behavioral, and other youth services in the community. Support services are provided during the school year as well as the summer months.

Employer Engagement.  JAG engages employers in the classroom as well as in the professional setting to expose students to job opportunities and career pathways in their own communities. 

Student-Led Leadership Development and Experience. As a highly motivational student-led organization, the JAG Career Association develops student civic engagement, public service, leadership development, career preparation, and social awareness. 

Job and Post-secondary Education Placement Services. Specialists help graduates identify job opportunities, assist in exploration of post-secondary education, and navigate financial aid enrollments to pursue a degree program, certification, or industry-recognized credential.

12-Month Follow-up Services. JAG provides twelve months of follow-up services after high school graduation to support student transition into employment, military service, and/or post-secondary enrollment. 

Accountability. JAG is an evidence-based organization that uses metrics to reward performance and identifies best practices for continuous improvement.  Comprehensive tracking and reporting collects information in three categories – students served, services delivered, and outcomes achieved.

The JAG Advantage

The JAG Advantage is based on a promise: JAG will give students an advantage that will set them apart from all other youth in today’s emerging workforce through student-centered programs that help young people achieve their fullest potential. 

Project Based Learning

Project Based Learning (PBL) is a proven approach to prepare students for academic, personal and career success, where other strategies and traditional curriculum has failed.  Research identifies the principles of PBL as a foundation to implement more learner-centered, inquiry-based, and active learning methods. JAG follows the Buck Institute for Education PBL model, a nationally recognized practice. JAG shifted to a PBL instructional strategy in 2015 as a vehicle to deliver JAG’s employability skills competencies, specific industry and employer content and engagement, and community problems and solutions. Elevating our education practice to this gold level standard ensures learners gain the benefit of real-world relevance that is critical to today’s workforce needs.

Trauma Informed Care

An increasing number of JAG students have experienced trauma. In the book Fostering Resilient Learners: Strategies for Creating a Trauma-Sensitive Classroom trauma is described as “an exceptional experience in which powerful and dangerous events overwhelm a person’s capacity to cope.” JAG is a resiliency model. It demonstrates how to build relationships, gives learners voice and choice (even more so through PBL), teaches life skills, and helps learners overcome adversity. 

Employer Engagement

Employer engagement has been a cornerstone activity of the JAG program since inception. In leveraging employer engagement as an instructional strategy, JAG elevates the practice by developing meaningful connections between our students and professionals, ideas and skills, and the classroom and real-life situations. Employers invest their resources, talent and knowledge to customize individual learning experiences for JAG students. Work-based activities and learning advances effective employer partnerships to provide students with the inspiration, motivation, knowledge and skills needed to be successful in post-secondary education and career pathways. This strategy deepens career exploration and first-hand experience in working environments to optimize advancement for learners. PBL provides a natural vehicle to implement workforce development practices in the classroom, preparing students for employer experiences.

The JAG Model blends these approaches and when delivered effectively, Specialists will deliver JAG competencies, engage the Student Center Association, and work with employers in strategies that are healthy and supportive to JAG students.

THIS is the wave of education in our future,