JACKSON, Miss., Jan. 30, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Gov. Phil Bryant joined officials from Jobs for America's Graduates and AT&T* Mississippi to highlight the importance of education and workforce development for Mississippi's economic future.
Jobs for America's Graduates (JAG) and AT&T are working together to help raise the high school graduation rate in Mississippi by expanding mentoring, tutoring and other academic support for students at risk of dropping out of high school. Jobs for Mississippi Graduates received $30,000 in funding as part of a $1 million contribution from AT&T to allow the national non-profit to add new schools and/or expand existing programs with proven records of success in keeping kids in school.
"Today, Mississippi is experiencing the strongest growth in our economy since 1999, our unemployment rate continues to fall and our GDP has reached $100 billion for the first time in state history," said Gov. Phil Bryant. "By continuing to focus on education and workforce development, we can make Mississippi's future even stronger."
"A robust education system is central to the future of our state," said Mayo Flynt, president, AT&T Mississippi. "By focusing on programs with proven results, we can have a measurable impact on the students that need it most and help us to meet our goal of improving graduation rates and building a strong workforce here in Mississippi."
JAG programs help underserved students overcome barriers to graduation through mentoring, tutoring, academic support and links to social services among other interventions. With a high school diploma or General Educational Diploma, students are guided into post-secondary education, entry-level careers or the military.
In 2011, JAG's network of affiliates reported a 94 percent high school graduation rate, compared to the national graduation rate of 78.2 percent. Currently, the JAG model is offered in nearly 1,000 public high schools, community colleges, and alternative learning centers in 32 states.
"It is rare in our experience for a company to be as thorough and tough minded in its approach of supporting strategies that are proven to work – and then get behind them with both money and critical organizational commitment as well," said JAG's CEO and President, Ken Smith. "AT&T has indeed set a gold standard."
In more than three decades of operation, JAG has helped nearly one million young people stay in school through graduation, pursue postsecondary education and secure quality entry-level jobs leading to career advancement opportunities.
AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) is a premier communications holding company and one of the most honored companies in the world. Its subsidiaries and affiliates – AT&T operating companies – are the providers of AT&T services in the United States and internationally. With a powerful array of network resources that includes the nation's fastest and most reliable 4G LTE network, AT&T is a leading provider of wireless, Wi-Fi, high speed Internet, voice and cloud-based services. A leader in mobile Internet, AT&T also offers the best wireless coverage worldwide of any U.S. carrier, offering the most wireless phones that work in the most countries. It also offers advanced TV service with the AT&T U-verse® brand. The company's suite of IP-based business communications services is one of the most advanced in the world.
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About Community Engagement at AT&T
At AT&T, Community Engagement means engaging our employees to build healthy, connected, and thriving communities where we live and do business. Employees are focused on three key issues: improving educational outcomes, building sustainable communities and promoting the responsible use of technology. In 2012, employees and retirees donated more than 5.8 million hours of time to community outreach activities and pledged more than $34.8 million for charities of their choice through employee giving. Employees also committed to more than 23,500 sustainable choices through Do One Thing (DOT), which invites employees to make small, everyday choices that add up to a big positive impact for themselves, the community and/or the company.
About Philanthropy at AT&T
AT&T Inc. is committed to advancing education, strengthening communities and improving lives. Through its philanthropic initiatives, AT&T has a long history of supporting projects that create learning opportunities; promote academic and economic achievement; and address community needs. In 2012, more than $131 million was contributed through corporate-, employee- and AT&T Foundation-giving programs.
About Jobs for America's Graduates
Jobs for America's Graduates (JAG), is a non-profit youth development program committed to helping America's most at-risk kids excel in high schools, prepare for success in college, and embark on a rewarding career. Since its inception in 1980, JAG has served nearly 1 million at-risk kids, and is currently serving over 44,000 students in 32 states. JAG students have a graduation rate of over 90 percent, and approximately 80 percent of those graduates go on to postsecondary education, military service and/or full-time employment.