Principal Foundation Invests in JAG’s Digital Solutions Initiative in Response to COVID-19 Emergency
Jobs for America’s Graduates (JAG), a national nonprofit that, over the past four decades, has served 1.4M youth who face significant challenges, received a $200,000 grant from Principal® Foundation. This donation will help cover the costs of emergency development of online educational and support services due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The relationship is a part of the Principal Foundation YouthCan Initiative, which aims to serve 50,000 youth over a five-year period to increase financial security support. Funding will expand JAG’s online model components and training during this time of remote learning, as well as help design and implement financial literacy content for students across JAG’s footprint. Additionally, this grant will help fund critical professional development training content for JAG’s upcoming National Training Seminar, which will be held virtually for the first time in the organization’s 40-year history.
“The 75,000 students that JAG serves across 39 states have been hit the hardest – and likely will be impacted for the longest – by this COVID pandemic. Many were experiencing significant barriers before the crisis hit, including poverty, homelessness, trauma, food-insecurity, and more, and now those scenarios are even more acute, given the loss of jobs and income many are facing,” said Ken Smith, President of Jobs for America’s Graduates. “The JAG National Network quickly transitioned to virtual services, offering remote learning and support when schools closed. JAG Specialists (teachers) are engaging regularly with students across the country, ensuring that their basic needs are met and that they’re continuing to pursue positive career pathways.”
“Our YouthCan research findings indicate that job loss can be a leading factor for the 54% of young people who feel they’ve hit financial “rock bottom,” showing that young people are facing significant barriers to their financial security,” said Mandi McReynolds, Director of Principal® Community Relations and Principal Foundation. “As young people face even more uncertainty now, the work of Jobs for Americas Graduates to meet their basic needs and build professional skills for job readiness is more important than ever.”
Principal Financial Group®, through Principal® Community Relations, has a long history of producing amazing results in their headquarter state of Iowa, working locally with Iowa Jobs for America’s Graduates (iJAG) – a leading affiliate of JAG National. The partnership between iJAG and Principal® stretches nearly two decades and was key in the development and implementation of the employer engagement model that is now used across JAG affiliate programs nationally.
The local relationship includes Principal leaders serving on the iJAG Board of Directors, and more than 70 Principal Financial Group employees regularly mentoring in iJAG classrooms. The relationship between Principal and iJAG has also launched the Principal iJAG Summer Associates Program, their first formal internship program to focus on high school students. After completing the Summer Associates program, more than 40 iJAG students have been hired at Principal Financial Group. Principal is launching the first virtual internship in the summer of 2020, due to the continued COVID-19 restrictions, and 31 iJAG students are participating. The work being done by iJAG has been touted as a superior model in Future Ready Iowa efforts by state agency directors and Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds.
“As a public-private relationship, iJAG is proud to have Principal represented throughout our organization, from the classroom to the Board room, for nearly 20 years. This relationship has become the model for how iJAG and JAG help move students to be future ready,” stated Laurie Phelan, President/CEO of iJAG. “We are immensely grateful for the Principal Foundation’s support and generosity, which allows us to continue providing much-needed services for our most vulnerable youth during this difficult time.”
The relationship will continue with Principal Foundation through 2021 to promote financial security across communities, with an emphasis on serving youth.
About Jobs for America’s Graduates
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 39 states, across 1,400 communities, impacting more than 75,000 youth annually. Iowa Jobs for America’s Graduates (iJAG) is one of the highest performing state affiliates. iJAG has had a significant impact on the National Organization through the JAG Advantage (Employer Engagement, Project-Based Learning and Trauma Informed Care).
About Iowa Jobs for America’s Graduates (iJAG)
For 20 years and counting, iJAG has served nearly 30,000 Iowa youth, providing opportunities for those who face multiple life challenges including academic, social, behavioral, and economic. The relationship between iJAG and Principal helps to ensure students are future ready and are supported by business, government, and local schools. Each investing their time, (through employee volunteers/mentors), and treasure. When students graduate and leave iJAG they are better prepared to enter Iowa’s workforce as confident young leaders who have demonstrated their resilience alongside trusted employer partners.
About Principal Foundation
Principal® Foundation is focused on helping people learn more, earn more, and save more. Our community Grant Program primarily invests in work that promotes financial security, with an emphasis on serving youth ages 15 – 30. All grant programs are invite-only. By partnering with community organizations and social enterprises where our employees live and work, we can come together to help individuals live their best lives. Our funding priorities are rooted in our business’ values. We believe a stronger future begins when we collaborate towards a common goal.
Principal® Community Relations has a focus to build financial security in communities where Principal Life Insurance Company operates. Insurance products and plan administrative services provided through Principal Life Insurance Co., a member of the Principal Financial Group®, Des Moines, IA 50392.
The Principal Financial Group Foundation, Inc. (the “Principal® Foundation”) is a distinct, not for profit, undertaking separate from the Principal Financial Group, Inc. (“Principal”). The major focus of the Principal Foundation is to build financial security in the communities where Principal operates. The Principal Foundation has $200M assets under management and directs its returns to helping people learn, earn, and save. While the Principal Foundation receives funding from Principal, the Principal Foundation is an independent organization. The Principal Foundation does not practice any form of investment advisory services and is not authorized to do so. © 2020 Principal Foundation