JAG Year in Review

Jobs for America’s Graduates (JAG) is a state-based, national non-profit organization dedicated to keeping young people in school through graduation and providing entry into post-secondary education or employment. This school-to-career program is for high school juniors and seniors and includes one year of follow-up counselling after graduation. As of the end of the 2015-16 school-year, the Brightpoint JAG program had 480 active students and 289 students in follow up.

In addition to the classroom work and after-graduation counseling, young people in JAG can participate in work experiences while in the program. This past year, 92 students took advantage of these 12-week work experiences. Students participating in these experiences gain valuable, job related skills that will aid in their future employment.

Xochitl Gonzales, a student at South Side High School, was placed at the Jennings Center through Fort Wayne Parks and Recreation. Xochitl speaks fluent Spanish and put that skill to use with the younger children at the Center. She implemented a Spanish-speaking program that is now being adopted to be used long-term. After completing her work experience hours, Xochitl was asked by the Fort Wayne Jennings Center to stay on to continue the growth of the program.

In December 2015, Lalita Ford from South Side and Brya Stuff-Kelso from New Haven attended the JAG National Student Leadership Conference in Washington, DC. Lalita competed in the public speaking competition while there and both students attended workshops all week. The focus of the week was on learning valuable leadership skills, but the students also got to enjoy some activities while in the city including ice skating for the first time.

The State Career Development Competition (CDC) was held in Indianapolis on March 11. Participants in the competition previously took part in regional conferences for a chance to earn monetary awards and the opportunity to compete at the state level. The competition enables students to demonstrate their employability skills in nine categories. Brightpoint JAG students brought home the following awards:

Entrepreneurship, 1st place – Logan Dewitt, Jonas Urban, Dakota Kneubuhler, DeKalb High School
Career Presentation, 1st place -Tyler McNall, Manchester High School
Financial Literacy, 1st place – Sabrina Porter, Marion High School
Chapter Commercial, 1st place – Marion High School
Outstanding Senior, Honorable Mention – Kortney Peer, Huntington North High School
Cover Design, 2nd place – Morgan Carrico, Marion High School
Public Speaking, 2nd place – Lalita Ford, South Side
Critical Thinking, 3rd place — Darice Upchurch, Marion
Creative Solutions, 3rd place — Dominic Gill, Huntington North

Brightpoint’s JAG program ended the school year on a very positive note, meeting both State and National 5/5 performance standards for the second consecutive year. While meeting the overall standards for the program as a whole, we had a record high 10 individual schools meeting the 5/5 performance as well. Those schools were: DeKalb, East Noble, Huntington North, Impact Institute, Manchester, Marion, New Haven, Northrop, North Side, and South Side.