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Sandoval touts high school student jobs program

CARSON CITY — Gov. Brian Sandoval and the governor of Delaware said Monday that a 4-month-old program to help at-risk high school students already has shown signs of success in Nevada.

Gov. Jack Markell of Delaware and Sandoval praised the Jobs for America’s Graduates program, which has helped 900,000 students nationally in more than 30 states achieve success over the past 33 years.

Sandoval launched the program in six high schools in Nevada in January and is seeking legislative approval to expand it to 50 schools.

“It works,” the governor said about the program, in which teachers are assigned to work with students. The teachers learn about the students’ academic shortcomings, health care and diet needs and their goals. The “JAG specialists” meet with the students during school homerooms and set up plans and offer them aid.

About half go onto college and the rest to the working world. Their JAG teachers follow up in subsequent years to ensure that students are achieving their goals.

Markell said independent research shows a 93 percent success rate the first year and 80 percent the second year for students, many of whom could not have graduated from high school without the program.

The Delaware governor, a Democrat, is the national chairman of the program.

The JAG national board is meeting in Carson City this week, and on Monday, members listened as Galena High School students in Reno discussed how the program has worked for them.

“The program has a proven track record,” Sandoval said. “It is transformative for these kids. One young man got a $20,000 scholarship to a trade school in Sacramento. Another kid applied for 100 jobs without success. JAG taught him how to dress and how to prepare a resume. He now has a job.”

Sandoval said that it is well-known nationally that Nevada has the lowest graduation rate in the country and he wanted to try a program that could change that statistic. He met with Markell at a National Governors Association meeting and was told about JAG.

Contact Capital Bureau Chief Ed Vogel at evogel@reviewjournal.com or 775-687-3901.

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