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New Mexico Jobs for America's Graduates

Jobs for America's Graduates' (JAG) is the nation's largest drop-out prevention and recovery program. Its mission is to ensure that at-risk high school students remain in school, attain employable skills through classroom and work-based learning experiences during one or more years, graduate, and receive 12 months of follow-up services from a job specialist at each site. In the follow-up period, JAG participants are transitioned into a career and/or pursue postsecondary education to enhance their career possibilities and professional advancement.

The New Mexico affiliate of JAG (JAG-NM) was launched in 2004. The New Mexico Business Roundtable for Educational Excellence (NMBREE) sponsors JAG-NM, and funding is provided by local school districts and the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act of 2006 (New Mexico Public Education Department, College and Career Readiness Bureau). Currently, a grant under Perkins Leadership and Reserve funds the New Mexico Jobs for America's Graduates network. JAG-NM provides a secondary educational setting that promotes the academic performance, skills development, civic responsibility, leadership, and social awareness that are necessary to prepare for high-wage, high-skill, and high-demand occupations. JAG-NM delivers a unique set of services for at-risk students to help them earn a high school diploma and prepare them for success in the work place and post-secondary setting.

In its nine years of existence, JAG-NM has helped thousands of New Mexico's students at high-risk for dropping out of high school set and reach their academic and career goals. In 2011–2012, JAG-NM served 217 at-risk youth at five high schools: Bernalillo High School (Bernalillo Public Schools), Independence High School (Rio Rancho Public Schools), Mora High School (Mora Independent Schools), Rio Grande High School (Albuquerque Public Schools), and Twin Buttes High School (Zuni Public Schools). During the 2012–2013 program year, JAG-NM served a total of 273 program participants in those five public school sites, 95% of whom graduated at the end of the year-long, post-senior follow-up period conducted by JAG-NM site specialists to all program participants. On their way to earning a diploma, these participants overcame an average of 7.19 obstacles that Jobs for America's Graduates National program has identified in the areas of academics, environment, personal, and "career wise".

An on-site advisory committee invites students to participate in JAG-NM based on a number of identified barriers to their success. Each site-has a JAG Specialist who is employed by the local school district. The specialist assures that the 35–45 students at each school site attains the competencies needed to graduate.

This high level of achievement was on display at the 30th annual Jobs for America's Graduates National Training Seminar held in Nashville, Tennessee, July 8 to 12, 2013. Students and teachers from 31 states and the Virgin Islands gathered for a wide array of practical workshops and seminars. Awards were given to schools that showed extraordinary achievement. Independence High School from the Rio Rancho School District received the Alternative Education Program Championship Award for the quality of its student selection process.

Contact JAG-NM State Director, Kay Provolt, kandgp@comcast.net, (505)239-9270 for more information on how to make your school a proud member of the New Mexico Jobs for America's Graduates network.

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