Jobs for America’s Graduates New Jersey

Jobs for American

2021 JAG NJ Career Development First Place winners in the "JAG NJ - Together We Rise Video Competition": Newark's Leaders for Life participants Trayana Andrews, Yokahira Feliz, Salimata Fofana, Nasir Roper, Alisha Saint-Cyr and Joshua Wertz share stories of the impact the JAG NJ program has had on their lives.

The New Jersey Chamber of Commerce Foundation serves as the managing unit for the Jobs for America’s Graduates New Jersey (JAG NJ) program, the nation’s largest dropout prevention and recovery program serving young adults ages 12-24 since 1980. This state-based national non-profit organization is dedicated to preventing dropouts among young people who are most at-risk. In more than three decades of operation, JAG NJ has delivered consistent, compelling results – helping more than one million young people across the country stay in school through graduation, pursue postsecondary education, and secure quality entry-level jobs leading to career advancement opportunities.

Few programs that support students with unique needs and challenges are able to report the type of impact JAG NJ has had on more than one million students nationwide. Because the JAG NJ model promotes both academic achievement and employability skills attainment, it allows for both cognitive and social development necessary for success beyond high school. In addition, student exposure to leadership activities, civic responsibility, and social awareness activities further leverages their readiness for employment, military, or their freshman year at a college or university. 

Since 2012, students participating in Jobs for America’s Graduates New Jersey have graduated at a rate of 92% to 100%--more than double the rate of their school peers. Graduation rates alone don’t tell the entire story, though. JAG NJ students typically find employment at more than double the rate of their peers and they report changes in attitude towards education, increased attendance and optimism about their futures.

Schools currently participating in the Jobs for America’s Graduates New Jersey initiative:

Carteret: - Carteret High School
Little Egg Harbor: - Pinelands Regional High School
Newark: - Barringer High School
- Central High School
- Leaders 4 Life (out-of-school program)
- Weequahic High School

New Brunswick: - New Brunswick Adult Learning Center C.A.R.E.S. Program
Passaic: - Passaic High School
Vineland:   - Vineland High School

Voices of the Jobs for America's Graduates Program.

JAG NJ Specialists:

JAG NJ Specialists are certified classroom teachers who receive specialized training, support and technical assistance to implement the program. These dedicated men and women help with the selection of students to participate in JAG NJ, engage with employers, implement trauma-informed instruction and project-based learning, work closely with students to ensure the successful completion of high school, and support participants for an additional 12 months after graduation. Meet JAG NJ Specialists here.

School Implementation:

The JAG NJ model is implemented during the school year as an elective class.  School personnel identify students with at least five barriers to success who will benefit from the competency-based employability skills curriculum. A certified teacher from the district, called a JAG NJ Specialist, receives specialized training to implement the model. In addition, the Specialist maintains contact with students for 12 months following their graduation from high school in order to assist with positive post-graduation outcomes. 

In order to implement the JAG NJ model, there is a commitment needed from the schools/districts:

  • Salary and benefits for JAG NJ Specialist
  • Release time for JAG NJ Specialist to attend bi-monthly team meetings
  • Board resolution adopting program
  • Funds allocated for transportation to business field trips, college visits, two in-state conferences, JAG NJ Specialist training and the national Student Leadership Academy in Washington, DC. 

To learn more about Jobs for America’s Graduates,
please review the national annual report and the JAG NJ Advantage.

Business Involvement:

Business volunteers play an integral role in the success of the Jobs for America’s Graduates New Jersey initiative.  If you are interested in any of the opportunities below, please register on the volunteers page.

  • Volunteers to bring the business perspective to classrooms by discussing a wide range of employability skills and employer expectations.
  • Tours of employer facilities to expose students to a variety of jobs, dress codes, peer interactions, and business culture.
  • Student mentoring, which can happen in the school setting or be integrated into on-site employer visits.
  • Job shadowing or internships for high school students.
  • Serve on a panel of business judges for statewide or regional student competitions.
NJ Chamber of Commerce Foundation
216 West State Street, Third Floor
Trenton, NJ 08608
Phone: 609-989-7888
Fax: 609-656-0697