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Funds Will Target Detroit Teens

By Ryan Hess, Employment and Training Reporter, Jan. 26, 2015

Pamela Moore at JAG launch
Pamela Moore, DESC President & CEO, speaks to students at the Jobs for Michigan’s Graduates (JMG) launch.

The Detroit Employment Solutions, Corp., with a grant from USA Funds, will help Detroit Public Schools teach high school students to be more employable.

Mayor Mike Duggan (D), on Jan. 15, announced that the local workforce agency was awarded $1.25 million to expand the Jobs for America’s Graduates program in city schools.

Jobs for America’s Graduates is a classroom-based dropout prevention program that provides at-risk students with employability skills development, personal development, career exploration, academic support and job placement services.

USA Funds is a national, nonprofit student loan servicing agency, with a philanthropic arm. The organization also made a $1.25 million grant to Jobs for Nevada’s Graduates to expand the program in Las Vegas public schools.

The program was launched in Michigan, in Benton Harbor, in 2008 and has since been expanding into other school districts, with the support of local workforce agencies. Statewide, 407 students were served in the 2013-14 school year. This will be a major expansion.

The grant will help JAG programs in Detroit schools serve about 900 students per year, according to city officials. Programs in four schools began operation earlier this year.

Mayor Duggan at JAG launch
Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan speaks at Cody High School about the My Brother’s Keeper initiative and the JMG program.

“As Detroit’s turnaround continues to gain momentum, opportunities for employment and career paths are going to increase,” Duggan said. “We need to make sure we are preparing young Detroiters to be ready for these opportunities. The Jobs for Michigan’s Graduates program will help improve graduation rates, moving students into postsecondary education and training that will prepare them for careers in Detroit’s growing economy.”

In Detroit, students will apply to participate in the program and be selected by an advisory committee appointed by their school’s principal. Opportunities will be targeted to students with numerous barriers to graduation and employment.

Program specialists employed by the city workforce agency, who are all certified teachers, will run the JAG classes.

The national JAG organization reports that 91 percent of students served in class of 2013 programs across the country graduated and 79 percent achieved a positive placement in employment or Postsecondary education. Seventy-one percent landed full-time jobs.