Jackson, Miss. –Gov. Phil Bryant today announced his commitment to expand the successful Jobs for Mississippi Graduates program to 100 schools, with help from $500,000 in private funds provided by Delta Regional Authority and Entergy Corp.
The announcement came while the board of directors for Jobs for America’s Graduates met in Jackson to learn more about the success of the program in Mississippi. Gov. Bryant chairs the JAG board.
“Jobs for Mississippi Graduates is one of our truly compelling success stories, helping thousands of young people in Mississippi succeed both in school and on the job,” Gov. Bryant said. “We need many more well-prepared, enthusiastic, hardworking young people to meet the demands of employers moving to Mississippi and existing employers who are expanding their work here. Jobs for Mississippi Graduates delivers young people who are prepared and ready to work – exactly the kind of employees we need.”
Chris Masingill, federal co-chairman of the Delta Regional Authority, announced in the meeting a new $250,000 investment that will support between 10 and 12 new JAG schools in five states in the Delta region. The new schools will begin the program in the 2016-17 school year and will serve an additional 350-450 youth. This marks DRA’s fifth investment in JAG. All told, DRA funds have resulted in 38 schools launching JAG for the first time, with a total of 3,000 students served.
“JAG and its state teams have consistently shown us a compelling case for their model of educating, training and empowering some of the most disadvantaged youth in the Delta region with convincing, consistent and cost-effective results,” Masingill said. “Delta Regional Authority is proud to further grow its partnership with JAG and continue to expand the program to more Delta schools to support our efforts to help create a stronger and more competitive workforce in the Delta region.”
Entergy’s chairman and CEO Leo Denault serves on the JAG board. Entergy’s $250,000 commitment will support JAG programs in Mississippi, Arkansas and Louisiana. Jobs for Mississippi Graduates will receive $75,000 of the grant to support expansion of the program.
“Entergy is committed to investing in the communities in which we do business,” Denault said. “It is one of the many ways we power life, contributing to a society that is healthy, educated and productive. A partnership with JAG allows us to work toward a mutual goal of providing educational and career success opportunities for disadvantaged youth. We look forward to this new partnership and the positive impacts it will have on Entergy communities across Arkansas, Louisiana and Mississippi.”
Entergy’s funding will help expand the program and support the JMG State Career Development Conference, where JMG students from across Mississippi come together to compete in employability skills they learned in the program.
Jobs for Mississippi Graduates operates in 62 schools, serving approximately 2,200 young people and achieving graduation rates of 90 percent. Over 60 percent of JAG graduates enroll in college, with all students learning new employability skills. A nonprofit board of leaders representing business, education, government and various community organizations in Mississippi leads the organization.
The national JAG board oversees an organization operating in 1,000 locations across 32 states. Friday’s meeting focused on the success of Jobs for Mississippi Graduates and the plans to expand the program to 100 schools. Overall, JAG serves more than 52,000 disadvantaged young people each year. Results include:
- Dramatically increasing graduation rates to 90 percent or above.
- Doubling the employment rate for poor and disadvantaged young people and tripling the number who secure full-time jobs.
- Increasing the rates of both enrollment in and completion of higher education for this same population – with the great majority being first-generation college students.
The JAG board includes 10 governors – the most serving on any board in the nation. Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards attended a reception at the Governor’s Mansion on March 31 to learn more about Jobs for America’s Graduates, as he looks toward growing JAG-Louisiana.
The JAG board enthusiastically endorsed Gov. Bryant’s request to the Legislature to increase funding for the program from $1.3 million to $2.3 million, with matching funds from local schools and other sources. That would allow JMG to serve an additional 1,600 students and expand the program to 100 schools.
Also serving on the JAG board and attending the meeting were:
- Gov. John Engler, former governor of Michigan and president of the Business Roundtable
- Mark Butler, Georgia commissioner of labor
- Louisiana State Rep. Chris Broadwater, who leads the JAG-Louisiana program
- John Steele, senior vice president-human resources for Hospital Corp. of America
- Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey, Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson and Montana Gov. Steve Bullock, all of whom participated by phone.
During the meeting, JAG released its annual review of the on-site evaluation of JMG. The evaluation recognized JMG as a well-organized, well-executed, consistently successful state affiliate of the national JAG organization.
For more information about JMG and JAG, visit their websites at jmg.org and jag.org.