The Jobs for America’s Graduates (JAG) programs in Michigan partner directly with Michigan Works! Michigan Works! agencies assist job seekers and employers in their communities. A JAG program was recently implemented in Escanaba, Michigan and in April the Escanaba School Board received an update on the JAG program. The school board members were introduced to JAG's mission of preventing dropouts among young people who are most at-risk, helping them stay in school through graduation, pursue post-secondary education and secure quality entry level jobs leading to advancement opportunities.
Principal Doug Leisenring discussed the program's success in its first year at EHS and remarked, "We are pleased with our first year here." An instructor from the Michigan Works! program teaches two classes per day with 10 students in each class. The small class size allows for closer mentoring of the students. Principal Leisenring highlighted trips the JAG students had taken to Northern Michigan University in Marquette and the Jacobetti Center. Students were exposed to what it would be like to be a four year student at the University or what it would look like to complete a four-year trade or two year program at the Jacobetti Center. Leisenring explained a hallmark of the program is to expose students to what is available in terms of education, training and/or job opportunities after high school. "The kids love the hands on part of it." Leisenring said. "They love the speakers that come in. They love the things they do in class, and they really like these site visits." In addition to visiting the University and the Jacobetti Center students visited a few Michigan businesses including; EMP and Van Aire, Inc. Students who were top performers during the academic year were placed in summer jobs through the JAG program.
According to Leisenring next year the school will continue with two sections of their JAG 1 class, and will also add a section of JAG 2 for students who wish to continue participating in the program. In addition to the skills that the JAG students will master in the classroom the school feels the program is a good way for students to get caught up on credits.