One of the hallmarks of Jobs for America’s Graduates is the partnership between the local JAG programs and businesses in their communities. The business volunteers provide resources, jobs, guest speakers and overall support for the JAG programs. In Tennessee one such relationship has been going strong for seven years. Chuck Sugg, Managing Partner for the local Sonic franchise has been incredibly supportive of the Franklin High School JAG program. He has been a guest speaker at JAG-Tennessee events, contributed financially to the program and provided employment opportunities to the students participating in the JAG-Tennessee program.
In 2010 Franklin, Tennessee was hit by a devastating flood. Because of that flood the Sonic Drive-In closest to Franklin High School was destroyed. Sonic owners had to make a decision about the future of the business: close the drive-in forever or rebuild. A few months later the decision was made and the rebuild was complete and the employees were called back to work. Unfortunately, the employees had found employment elsewhere.
Desperate to fill positions immediately, Chuck Sugg called Cathy Dennis, the Job Specialist at Franklin High School and asked for her help. He wanted the JAG-Tennessee students to organize a job fair. The students were up for the task and the fair was organized. And after interviewing with area Sonic managers, several students from the JAG-Tennessee program were hired. There was an additional benefit to Franklin High School, as several students who were not the JAG program were hired as well. Needless to say, the job fair was a success.
Since the job fair and working with JAG-Tennessee, Mr. Sugg feels that the quality of applicants has increased and the students hired have made exceptional employees. During the 2010 Sonic Job Fair, William Lee, a former JAG-Tennessee student was hired and has proven to be an excellent employee who has shown “potential for a management position”.
The 2010 fair was such a success that there was a request to hold another job fair to fill 30 positions at three of the areas Sonic locations. Within a week of that request, JAG-Tennessee students and Job Specialists organized another fair in which more than 150 students from the JAG-Tennessee program and Franklin High School participated. JAG-Tennessee students reached out and helped students who were not in the program fill out applications and gave tips on interviewing. Lashanta Tucker, a JAG-Tennessee student had a job but offered the following remarks on helping her peers at the job fair. “In JTG, we have learned so much about how to get a job, how to fill out an application, how to interview and what employers expect. It’s easy to give advice and I was able to answer all of their questions.” Cathy Dennis the JAG-Tennessee Job Specialist at Franklin High School said “Business and community support like we have with Sonic helps make Jobs for America’s Graduates programs successful across our nation.” “Chuck and the other Sonic mangers have done so much for the JAG-Tennessee programs in Franklin that I feel it is an honor to answer a call when they are in need.” “It was so good to see my students rise to the occasion and teach others some of the things they had learned this year.” “This certainly was a win/win for everyone concerned.”