Milwaukee community leaders joined together with AT&T and the Jobs for America’s Graduates (JAG) program today to announce a $30,000 AT&T contribution that has expanded the JAG program to add an Alternative Education component and reach at-risk high school students in Milwaukee Public Schools (MPS).
Administered by the Milwaukee Area Workforce Investment Board (MAWIB), Milwaukee’s JAG program is a longstanding, successful model for helping young people stay in school through graduation, pursue postsecondary education and secure quality entry-level jobs leading to career advancement opportunities.
MAWIB has received $30,000 in funding, as part of a $1 million national contribution from AT&T, to allow the nonprofit to expand JAG’s high school graduation program within MPS. JAG reaches a wide-range of young people. AT&T’s contribution has expanded the program to reach 25 students who dropped out and want to return to school to obtain their GED, HSED or high school diploma. This is the first time JAG-Milwaukee has served this population.
The 25 students participating in the Alternative Education component attend North Division High School, and of the 25, 64% who were previously at-risk to not receive a high school diploma or equivalent will graduate this year.
North Division’s Principal Stanley McWilliams is a strong supporter of the JAG program. North Division Senior and Salutatorian Takiya Eiland tells her story of overcoming the odds to receiving a college scholarship offer from Rust College Holly Springs, Mississippi.
“I am so grateful to AT&T for supporting the JAG program,” said Takiya Eiland. “Because of their support, I am not only going to graduate high school, but also be able to pursue my dream of becoming a defense attorney.”
“We are thrilled to have expanded the JAG program at North Division High School to help more students graduate or return to school to earn their GED,” said John Kissinger, MAWIB Chairman of the Board. “Through activities like mentoring, post-secondary exploration and academic support, this program helps students stay on track and graduate high school prepared for college and careers. I want to personally congratulate Ms. Eiland on her success.”
Students participating in the program receive 15 hours of on-site instruction each week. Students are provided with individual academic tutoring, as well as assistance with investigating post-secondary school options. Other JAG activities include job shadowing, field trips, writing resumes, filling out job applications, exploring career options, mock interviews and community service opportunities.
“The JAG program is a great way to not only help more Milwaukee students graduate high school, but also prepare them for college and career opportunities,” said Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett. “We are excited to see this successful program expand in MPS thanks to this public-private partnership.”
The $30,000 AT&T donation was announced at the JAG Career Development Conference, an annual competition to showcase the work readiness skills of the JAG students. Activities include six job readiness competitions such as etiquette and public speaking, which will be judged by representatives from Milwaukee’s business community.
“MPS is proud to continue with the JAG Program,” said Dr. Gregory Thornton, MPS Superintendent. “Connecting students to jobs is an important part of education and the JAG Program is an important partner in this work.”
AT&T and the AT&T Foundation have provided approximately $4 million in funding to JAG and its local affiliates since 2008. This support is part of AT&T Aspire, AT&T’s $350 million commitment to education. With more than 1 million students impacted since its launch in 2008, Aspire is one of the nation’s largest corporate commitments focused on helping more students graduate from high school ready for college and careers.
“We are very proud to support local efforts to keep our youth in high school and prepare them for success after graduation by helping expand the JAG program in Milwaukee Public Schools,” said Scott T. VanderSanden, president of AT&T Wisconsin. “As a company, AT&T is committed to investing in education and helping our young people succeed in academics and careers.”