AT&T Foundation Helps Maine Address Skills Gap

Foundation Awards JMG $200,000 to Expand Career Prep Services to Cony High School Students

(Augusta)  – Over the last 21 years, Jobs for Maine's Graduates has helped to inspire and prepare more than 25,000 students to graduate from high school with the skills, support and confidence to succeed in the workplace.  Today, we are very excited to announce that, thanks to a $200,000 grant from the AT&T Foundation, JMG has just opened a new program to serve students at Cony High School in Augusta.

Governor Paul R. LePage responded to the news at a press conference at the State House. ”Thanks to the people at AT&T for making one of the most important investments an employer can make – an investment in our students. Our students are leaders in the making; they are tomorrow's workforce, our future entrepreneurs and CEOs. JMG and AT&T represent a true public-private partnership that is directly addressing Maine's workforce and job skills crisis.”

The grant is part of AT&T Aspire, the company’s signature education initiative, focused on school success and career readiness. The grant will support a new program at Cony High School for the next two years. Students enrolled in the JMG program at Cony will be exposed to career, training and education opportunities. Through an engaging, interactive curriculum they will develop and hone the types of workplace skills, such as communication and critical thinking, that are in demand in today’s job market.

“Jobs for Maine’s Graduates is one of the country's leaders in supporting student achievement and success beyond the classroom," said Patricia Jacobs, President, AT&T New England. "AT&T is committed to doing everything we can to help students graduate high school with the skills they need to compete and thrive in the 21st century economy. We’re proud to support JMG and their proven success in helping students gain the knowledge and skills they’ll need to be successful. "

The $200,000 grant is only the most recent gift from AT&T. Since 2008, the company has awarded JMG more than $500,000, helping us double the number of students we serve every year, from 2,500 in 2008, to more than 5,000 today.  

JMG's President and CEO, Craig Larrabee, said, "AT&T Aspire has impacted more than one million students across the country, including thousands right here in Maine. It is an employer that understands that while schools are committed to educating our youth, they cannot do it alone. We are grateful for their support of our organization and their commitment to Maine students."

In selecting the recipients for this grant, AT&T chose organizations that can demonstrate their success through data. For example, 96% of JMG students stay in school from one year to the next, and at least 90% graduate within four years. One of those graduates is Ann Veilleux; a JMG alumna from Winslow High School. 

Ann said, "When I first enrolled in JMG, my future was the furthest thing from my mind.  School was tough- life was tough. I was just trying to get by. But, the JMG teaching Specialist refused to accept that. He believed in me, and wouldn't let it go until I believed in myself. Today, I have a full-time job, a home I love, and I am a junior at the University of Maine at Augusta studying social work. I don’t even want to imagine where I would be without JMG."

JMG is a statewide, private nonprofit working with students who face barriers to education. JMG provides 4,000 students a year with the skills and experience they will need to succeed in high school, post -secondary education, and careers. JMG graduates become engaging members of their communities, productive adults in the workforce, and contributors to Maine's economy.

About Philanthropy at AT&T
AT&T Inc. is committed to advancing education, strengthening communities and improving lives. Through its community initiatives, AT&T has a long history of investing in projects that create learning opportunities; promote academic and economic achievement; or address community needs. In 2013, more than $130 million was contributed or directed through corporate-, employee-, social investment- and AT&T Foundation-giving programs. AT&T Aspire is AT&T’s signature education initiative that drives innovation in education by bringing diverse resources to bear on the issue including funding, technology, employee volunteerism, and mentoring.