BATON ROUGE – The hard work of Louisiana’s Jobs for America’s Graduates (JAG-LA) program is receiving national recognition as it earned the highly coveted 5 of 5 Performance Award.
JAG-LA, now under the direction of the Louisiana Workforce Commission (LWC), was presented the award during the recent annual JAG National Training Seminar, held in Orlando, Florida.
The 5 of 5 Award recognizes states and sites that achieve at least:
• 90% Graduation Rate
• 60% Job Placement Rate
• 80% Positive Outcomes Rate
• 60% Full-Time Job Rate
• 80% Full-Time Placement Rate
• 98% Graduation Rate
• 80% Job Placement Rate
• 90% Positive Outcomes Rate
• 79% Full-Time Job Rate
• 91% Full-Time Placement Rate
These numbers tell the story of the difference the program is making across our parishes.
“Governor John Bel Edwards recognizes the impact JAG has on Louisiana students. His support of the program has been unlimited,” said Dianna Keller, JAG-LA Director. “The number of JAG programs has doubled under his leadership. We have continued to set our goals for success higher each year and to focus on the vision of striving to increase students’ opportunities to be successful, while also reducing poverty and unemployment.”
These successes are easily recognized in North Louisiana, specifically at Bastrop High School, which credits the graduation of more than a dozen seniors to the JAG-LA program.
"Before I [became a member of] JAG, I used to have a bad attitude. I used to be just bad, and when I [became a member] of JAG it helped me change my attitude, and the program has helped me get a job," said a Bastrop High School JAG Member.
The phrase “get a job” is at the core of JAG-LA's foundation, and that motivation aligns with the LWC’s commitment to cultivating workforce development opportunities, as well as removing barriers to gainful employment for individuals.
Until 2019, JAG-LA fell under the management of the Louisiana Department of Education (LDOE), but was supported financially by Louisiana Department of Education (LDOE), Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) and the LWC.
During the recent 2019 Legislative Session however, lawmakers voted to transfer JAG-LA’s staff members and operations to function solely underneath the LWC umbrella.
“At its core, JAG’s overarching objective aligns with the LWC’s mission of putting Louisianans to work in family-sustaining careers,” said LWC Secretary Ava Dejoie. “Our job is to make sure the people in our state have access to all of the tools they need to pursue high-demand, high-wage, satisfying careers. The LWC joins Governor John Bel Edwards in continuously reinforcing the importance of JAG, and the value it holds with respect to at-risk youths in our great state. I am very proud of our affiliation with JAG-LA, and ecstatic to welcome these staff-members into the LWC family.”
A steadfast proponent of JAG, Governor John Bel Edwards has made his long-held commitment to JAG programs well known, vowing to expand the program and even accepting the role of JAG’s National Board chair in April 2019.
A few JAG-LA facts:
• An estimated 6,500 students/youth participants will receive JAG-LA services during the 2019-20 school year;
• 98 percent of JAG-LA participants graduated from high school during 2018;
• 80 percent of JAG-LA participants were employed full time during 2018-19;
• More than 92 percent of JAG-LA participants during 2018 were engaged full-time either in school or work while enrolled in the program.
“The JAG teachers have the courage and desire to change students’ lives. The future belongs to the next generation and JAG is here to assist with their success,” Keller said. “The JAG program has provided an abundance of opportunities for so many of our ‘challenged’ Louisiana youth, and I have confidence the program is impacting and changing lives.”
To learn more about JAG, visit http://www.jag.org/
About the Louisiana Workforce Commission
The Louisiana Workforce Commission is an agency of state government that administers programs designed to enhance workforce growth and provide family-sustaining jobs for Louisiana residents. The commission monitors employment, administers unemployment compensation and tax funds, provides training resources for employers and employees and oversees worker compensation benefits. The agency also gathers and supplies information on the labor market and occupational sectors in Louisiana.
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