$200,000 grant to help expand the program
COLUMBIA, SC – December 15, 2008 – The South Carolina Department of Commerce today announced that the Jobs for America’s Graduates-South Carolina (JAG-SC) program has been awarded a $200,000 grant from the AT&T Foundation that will help expand the program in South Carolina.
“JAG-SC continues to be an important part of Commerce’s workforce development strategy. Building the kind of workforce that South Carolina needs to succeed in the global economy begins with developing life skills. This program has demonstrated great success through mentoring and laying a foundation for many young people to succeed. Thanks to the generous support of the AT&T Foundation, we can expand the program to assist more students by increasing their employability skills and reducing dropout rates,” said Joe Taylor, Secretary of Commerce.
JAG-SC employs an intensive curriculum based on developing real-world job skills to prevent at-risk students from dropping out of high school and help them move towards successful careers. JAG-SC currently serves 785 students in 19 South Carolina high schools.
“Investing in a well-educated workforce may be the single most important thing we can do to help America remain the leader in a digital, global economy,” said Pamela P. Lackey, President-AT&T-SC. “AT&T Aspire supports the work of the education community to help our children succeed in school, and help students see the connection between education and their best future.”
“We are proud of the successes of our JAG-SC pilot programs to date and are delighted with the AT&T Foundation’s selection of our program for this generous grant award,” said JAG-SC Statewide Coordinator Elaine Midkiff. “The additional funding will enable us to build on JAG-SC’s early accomplishments and help prepare more South Carolina youth for successful entry into the workforce or post-secondary education.”
“It will be truly beneficial to our young people to have the additional support, encouragement, and experience to be successful as offered through this program by assisting students who otherwise may have slipped through the cracks. We are thankful to receive this support from AT&T and look forward to using the JAG-South Carolina program to further reinforce our students’ learning experience,” said Dr. Percy A. Mack, superintendent Richland One School District.
The grant money will be used to introduce the program to the C. A. Johnson Academy. The new program is scheduled to start at the beginning of the spring semester. The $200,000 in grant funding will be issued over the next four years. JAG-SC was chosen from among approximately 2,000 other applicants nationwide for the grant award.
The AT&T Foundation made grants to seven JAG state affiliates that total nearly $1.5 million, and are all part of the greater $100 million education initiative of AT&T and the AT&T Foundation — AT&T Aspire. The four-year initiative includes grants to schools and nonprofits, a companywide job shadowing program, funding for 100 community dropout prevention summits organized by America’s Promise Alliance and the commissioning of major national research.
JAG-SC began in 2005 with funding from the State Workforce Investment Board and the support of Gov. Mark Sanford and the South Carolina Department of Commerce. The JAG national model has a 28-year track record of significant reductions in the dropout rate among participating students, and early indications are that JAG-SC is on track to have a similar impact in South Carolina. The JAG-SC Two-Year Progress Report, published in 2008, by the Department of Commerce, contained promising news about the potential for JAG-SC statewide based on the success of students currently in the program. After two years in JAG-SC, 10th graders in the program had decreased their rate of absences by 41 percent and their suspensions by 35 percent. Educators also reported gains of 9 percent in GPA and 6 percent in the number of classes passed by JAG-SC participants. Approximately 95 percent of JAG-SC participants did not drop out of school after joining the program.
About Philanthropy at AT&T
AT&T Inc. (NYSE:T) is committed to advancing education, strengthening communities and improving lives. Through its philanthropic initiatives and partnerships, AT&T supports projects that create learning opportunities; promote academic and economic achievement; and address community needs. In 2007, AT&T contributed more than $164 million through corporate-, employee- and AT&T Foundation-giving programs. AT&T and the AT&T Foundation, the corporate philanthropy organization of AT&T, combine more than $1.9 billion of historic charitable commitment to communities across the country.
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