Jobs for Arizona’s Graduates Launches Coolidge High School Program - AZEdNews
Sections    Thursday March 30th, 2023

Jobs for Arizona’s Graduates Launches Coolidge High School Program

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  • Nicole Porter   |   Jobs for Arizona Graduates

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COOLIDGE – Jobs for Arizona’s Graduates (JAG) launched a new program at Coolidge High School in August for the 2021-22 school year.

For more than 40 years, JAG has been delivering in-school programs that help Arizona students achieve their fullest potential while reaching economic and academic success. “We are thrilled to have Coolidge High School join the JAG family,” said JAG President, Graciela Garcia-Candia, “The new program provides intervention to prevent disconnection from school, facilitate academic improvements and bring community into the classroom to support career and college goals for Coolidge High School students.”

Each year JAG serves over 1,000 students throughout Arizona. Currently, 98% of students in Jobs for Arizona’s Graduates programs obtain their high school diploma, 53% go on to post-secondary education, and 77% obtain employment after graduation, leading to a 95% positive outcome. “We work hard to ensure students in underserved communities receive the mentorship, skills training and opportunities necessary to complete their high school education and go on to university, trade school, military or full-time employment,” said Garcia-Candia.

JAG students are predominantly economically disadvantaged (80%) and minority students (86%) and while many schools are seeing an increase in numbers for unaccounted for or “missing” students, JAG’s “unable to contact” rate is a low 1.79%.

“JAG has persevered through these challenging times and continues to support our students in meeting their educational and employment goals,” said the Jobs for Arizona’s Graduates Chairman of Board, Kevin Walsh. “Our ability to adapt and reach our students, despite the extreme challenges they are facing has really been amazing.”

JAG participants may be well-performing students who need support in improving their social skills and developing their employability skills or students who are lacking in credits and need support in proficiency improvement and academic performance.

Coolidge High School Principal, Tres Chapman, said he is excited to continue building the JAG program at his school. “Mrs. Gonzales [JAG Coordinator] is an awesome teacher, and we are blessed to have her on our campus.”

Nikola Corporation, a manufacturer of heavy-duty commercial battery-electric vehicles, fuel-cell electric vehicles, and energy solutions, began constructing their new production plant in southern Coolidge last year. “JAG’s mission is incredibly important as we prepare a true ecosystem and continuum from high school to working in industry,” said Alana Langdon, Sr. Manager, External Affairs and Public Policy, Nikola Corporation. “We will be working with high schools, vocational programs and junior colleges in the region to make sure that we are helping to prepare the workforce of the future. We’re looking forward to collaborating with JAG to make that a reality.”

JAG’s employer engagement model provides students with opportunities to learn about available industry opportunities, network with professionals and future-employers, and develop their career goals.

Currently, in addition to Coolidge High School, new JAG programs launched at Wickenburg High School and WestPoint High School, with plans to expand to additional schools and communities across Arizona in the spring. On September 16, JAG is hosting a virtual kickoff event to spotlight the recent impact JAG programs have had on student success. The virtual event is open to the public and will air at 9:00 AM at