CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa – On Tuesday, hundreds of Iowans, including Governor Branstad, marched in cities across Iowa for the iJAG program. They want state lawmakers to restore $1 million in state funding cuts.
iJAG is designed to give at-risk students time in school to focus on the issues that are holding them back from success. iJAG or Iowa Jobs for America’s Graduates also helps give students job skills, career placement, college help, and job and life skills. But those who benefit from the state funded program say they can’t accomplish those goals with less funding.
“We lost funding last March. We lost close to one million dollars,” said Cedar Rapids Jefferson High School iJAG Education Specialist Erin Whipple.
iJAG takes at risk students and gives them one-on-one support.
“My attendance wasn’t the best. My grades definitely weren’t the best. I wasn’t going to graduate on time even if I was going to make it to graduation." After two years in iJAG, Morgan Owens will graduate on time this year in May with big dreams ahead. “College. I never thought I would be going to college. And I’ve been fill out applications and financial said."
Across the state, students and supporters hit the streets to raise awareness and ask people to sign petitions. The goal is to get the governor and state lawmakers to see iJAG’s importance. “Our goal has been to fund-raise for our program to keep it going to keep it in the schools and keep the kids engaged in our community and involved with our schools,” said Whipple.
The program is 100% state funded. But private donations help schools in your community for students like Owens to succeed. “There are so many kids who wouldn’t be where they are without the program,” said Owens.
Six Jefferson High School iJAG students along with an adviser brought their petitions and concerns to Governor Terry Branstad Tuesday afternoon. To learn more about the iJAG program or how you can help click here.