Today 136 Marion County high school juniors and seniors met at the Indianapolis Marriott East for the regional JAG Career Development Conference – including competitions around employability, skill development, and career goals. All students are part of the Jobs for America’s Graduates program, better known as JAG, which has a presence in fourteen high schools throughout the county. Throughout the year, these students learn professional skills and the Career Development Conference provides them with the opportunity to showcase these skills to employer judges. By working with these students, Jobs for America’s Graduates is helping to prepare them for their future.
The morning kicked off with former Colts player Marlin Jackson, speaking to to the audience of students, JAG specialists, and volunteer judges from local businesses. “In life, in every aspect, you will need a growth mindset – especially in the workplace. When you get criticism, can you take it or do you get defensive? When you take that constructive criticism and utilize it, you grow. That’s why it’s called a growth mindset.”
EmployIndy would like to extend a big “thank you” to our sponsors for their support of this event! Our sponsors for the 2019 CDC included gold level sponsors: Bank of America and Fight for Life Foundation; silver level sponsors: St. Vincent/Ascension and Duke Realty; and bronze level sponsors: PNC Bank and Lift Academy. Sponsors had representatives attend the event to serve as judges for competitions, as well as to network with students during lunch. Here is what they had to say:
“I think what was most striking was the confidence that these students displayed during their Critical Thinking presentations. Students that have been part of programs like JAG will stand out when they come interview for positions, because they will have gone through scenarios where they had to think on the spot and provide some depth of thought around critical questions.”
– Andrew Crask, Indianapolis Market President, Bank of America
“It is very important to get students interested in healthcare and show them the various career possibilities in the industry outside of becoming a nurse or doctor. As a judge in the Career Presentation competition, I noticed that the students’ level of professionalism was impressive. It’s very important to be able to walk up and shake someone’s hand with eye contact.”
– Karen Jenne, Ascension/St. Vincent
“Our new flight academy is trying to help diversify the aviation profession. Having worked with EmployIndy and knowing what the JAG program is about, we thought tabling at the JAG CDC would be a perfect opportunity to show students a career pathway that they weren’t aware of and give them an opportunity to learn more about it. While judging the Entrepreneurship Plan competition, I was impressed by the students’ professionalism and confidence.”
Another exciting part of the day was Kenzie Academy’s announcement that they are offering up to $300,000 in scholarships for JAG students across Indiana. Reps from Kenzie were on site sharing details for interested students to learn more about their accelerated, project-based learning in the in-demand technology field.
Officials provide new tools to help boost enrollment at other Marion County schools based on Northwest’s success
February 4, 2019 – INDIANAPOLIS – Today, Mayor Joe Hogsett and Indy Achieves honored Northwest Middle School for successfully enrolling 100 percent of its eligible students in 21st Century Scholars – a feat no other school in Marion County accomplished in 2017. Indy Achieves awarded Principal Phil Shults and counselors with a trophy as Marion County Champion for top enrollment numbers on the first day of National School Counseling Week. Northwest Middle School’s success is at the core of a new online enrollment toolkit and additional staff support available from Mayor Hogsett and Indy Achieves to all Marion County schools. These resources are designed to help increase the number of applicants taking advantage of financial aid offered by 21st Century Scholars.
Currently Indiana’s most generous early commitment college promise program, 21st Century Scholars is an underutilized financial aid resource in Marion County with just 51 percent of eligible students enrolling to receive aid. Indy Achieves, housed at EmployIndy, is Mayor Joe Hogsett’s comprehensive education program established to make postsecondary degrees and credentials available to every Indianapolis resident. Key to reaching that mission is increasing efforts to help Marion County middle schools boost applications in 21st Century Scholars.
“As we continue to see the skills gap in Indianapolis increase at an alarming rate, we must remain committed to working harder, smarter, and more efficiently to ensure every student has access to the resources necessary to attain a postsecondary education, including financial aid,” said Mayor Joe Hogsett. “Our schools are vital to students and their families, which is why we not only find it important to celebrate successes like Northwest Middle School, but to learn from them. Their success can help us, and others, think creatively and strategically about how we can enroll more students in 21st Century Scholars.”
Household size and income are used to determine eligibility for 21st Century Scholars. Families must enroll before June 30 following the student’s eighth grade year, and students must graduate high school with at least a 2.5 GPA. The 21st Century Scholars program will award students up to approximately $10,000 annually for postsecondary education, which reflects the maximum tuition and fees for Indiana’s public colleges.
“The 21st Century Scholars program represents a significant ongoing commitment to ensure that every Hoosier student has access to the opportunities a college degree provides if they work hard in school,” said Indiana Commissioner for Higher Education Teresa Lubbers. “We know that the efforts of school counselors and teachers are essential in spreading the word about our state financial aid programs and we are encouraged by the results of Northwest Middle School.”
“The innovative approach used by our school counselors at Northwest Middle School to ensure every student was contacted and every parent called, that home visits were made and incentives were awarded in order to achieve 100 percent enrollment in 21st Century Scholars, is truly to be commended,” said IPS Interim Superintendent Aleesia Johnson. “I applaud the efforts of the student services department and the entire school staff for making the dream of college a reality for all students regardless of individual barriers. I hope our best practices can be helpful to other schools.”
Through this effort, Indy Achieves is working to marshal additional resources, helping to provide school counselors with best practices for encouraging enrollment in their own schools. The Indy Achieves 21st Century Scholars Enrollment Toolkit includes steps for tracking eligible students, templates and resources, online links to valuable documents and Indy Achieves contact information. The information in the toolkit was gleaned from Marion County’s top schools enrolling 21st Century Scholars, including Northwest Middle School, and is designed to universally share tactics that have provided the best outcome for enrollment.
In addition to the Indy Achieves 21st Century Scholars Enrollment Toolkit, Marion County schools can receive staff support so that counselors can focus on outreach and lean on Indy Achieves to administer the data input.
For more information about Indy Achieves or the 21st Century Scholars Enrollment Toolkit, visit www.indyachieves.org.