by | May 12, 2021 | Uncategorized | 0 comments

Governors Kim Reynolds (R-Iowa), Governor Laura Kelly (D-KS), Governor Pete Ricketts (R-NB), Governor Steve Sisolak (D-NV) And Missouri First Lady Teresa Parson Among JAG Board Members, Policymakers and Donors Highlighting Non-Profit’s Lead Role in Supporting Students “At High Risk Of Long-Term Hardship”

Washington D.C. / Tuesday, May 12th, 2021 – Jobs for America’s Graduates (JAG), a national nonprofit that over the past four decades has served 1.5 million youth in 1,450 locations across 40 states who face significant challenges, is pleased to announce that the organization hosted its first-ever Virtual Governors’ Press Conference on Tuesday, May 11th at 2h30pm (EDT).

Watch the full conference here.

Fourteen U.S Governors from both sides of the political aisle presently serve on the Jobs for America’s Graduates (JAG) Board of Directors, the most of any non-profit organization across the country. The participating Governors were joined by JAG organizational leadership, alumni, JAG Specialists and representatives from the donor community, such as Stephanie Tyler, President of AT&T Nevada and Myrna Bell, Senior Director for Global Diversity, Inclusion & Strategic Engagement at McDonalds.

While celebrating the remarkable success of Jobs for America’s Graduates (JAG) students in 2020, having overcome the numerous socioeconomic challenges posed at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic to achieve a 96% graduation rate which exceeded the national average for all seniors by 12%, the Press Conference looked to highlight the continued, often longstanding and today significant challenges faced by individual students and whole communities across the United States.

JAG Spokespersons, including Governor Kim Reynolds (R-IA), Governor Laura Kelly (D-KS), Governor Pete Ricketts (R-NB), Governor Steve Sisolak (D-NV), and Missouri First Lady Teresa Parson (Co-founder and Co-Chair of Jobs for Missouri Graduates Inc), alongside the nonprofit’s CEO, Founder and President, Ken Smith, further offered insight into how decision-makers from the public and private sector can help the organization approach the myriad challenges America’s potential lost generation faces and channel the necessary resources they have at their disposal to help these students overcome them.

The enduring challenges to finding equitable pathways to success in school, at work and in life prompted the creation of JAG and, some 40 years later, are today dramatically compounded by the continued academic dislocations and economic disruptions of the COVID-19 virus. If left unaddressed, these challenges host the potential of creating a ‘lost generation’ of American youth.

Jobs for America’s Graduates students and specialists have nonetheless proven that a well-executed model can help those historically held back by barriers such as discrimination and poverty to achieve equal or greater success in graduating from high school, finding employment, and/or obtaining post-secondary education.

The nonprofit’s track record speaks for itself:

  • JAG more than doublesthe chances its students will find work and doubles the rate that they are likely to secure full-time jobs. For example, youth of color who participate in JAG programs have nearly three times the chance of securing full-time employment.
  • Reflecting the value that employers see in JAG, 19,000 employers regularly hire JAG students because they are better trained and have mastered key employability competencies taught on-site or today virtually by JAG Specialists, which prepare these students to work, learn and succeed.

Yet with the challenges of the pandemic persisting, JAG and its participating Governors remain fully committed to addressing the critical need to scale the organization’s interventions to mitigate for the potential and unprecedented loss of a substantial portion of America’s next generation from the education system.

Governor Kim Reynolds (R-IA), Vice-Chair of the Jobs for America’s Graduates Board, stated that, “We are deeply concerned about the growing risk of many young Americans being left behind academically as well as high school seniors across this country forced to drop out of school and need to make a living. To combat this problem, JAG is uniquely positioned with the expertise to help open doors for students in all communities regardless of income or circumstance. I am proud to be a part of this bipartisan effort to ensure students across America have access to the incredible opportunities available in the workforce.”

Ken Smith, CEO, Founder and President of Jobs for America’s Graduates (JAG) added that, “I commend our Board and the Governors who serve on it alongside our donors for participating at our virtual Press Conference. They share deep appreciation for the daily challenges of so many young people which, left unabated, will prevent our next generation of young leaders from succeeding and contributing back to our country. They also agree that there is an urgent call to action necessary in meeting the demand to support these students with solutions that are proven at scale and over time”.

“And while the crisis we face in preventing a lost generation of young people in the wake of COVID-19 is urgent, based on our four decades of experience, we fear it will also be with us for years to come unless sustained action is taken.”

“JAG’s consistent outcomes, through past recessions and recoveries, from eastern Montana to the Mississippi Delta to the inner cities of St. Louis, Detroit and Los Angeles, have demonstrated that proven solutions are affordable, replicable and consistently effective. Through the support of our Board-members, policymakers and donors, we are committed to ensuring that the most vulnerable populations succeed in school, in jobs, at college and in life,” Smith concluded.

About Jobs for America’s Graduates (JAG)

Jobs for America’s Graduates (JAG) is a unique, valuable, and necessary program providing youth with the essential skills for success. The JAG National Network has a footprint in 40 states, across 1,450 communities, impacting more than 76,000 youth annually. JAG graduates consistently achieve outstanding results and are 230% more likely to be employed full-time compared to their peers, and twice as likely to go to college. For more information, visit