Gov. Steve Sisolak Honored J4NG for Achieving
Jobs for America’s Graduates 5 Of 5 Award
Despite the disruption of the COVID-19 pandemic causing school closures and record-high unemployment rates in Nevada, Jobs for Nevada’s Graduates (J4NG, formerly JAG Nevada) remained diligent to ensure students remained on the pathway to graduation and career entry.
J4NG achieved the highest outcomes in the very depths of the pandemic, while serving youth and their families who were among the earliest and hardest-hit by its impacts. Hence, the national organization, Jobs for America’s Graduates (JAG), presented J4NG with the highest national performance recognition, the 5 Of 5 Award, on Wednesday, Oct. 21.
Omar Saucedo, director of external affairs for AT&T Nevada, one of JAG’s largest corporate partners, presented the outstanding 5 Of 5 Award, which was accepted by Gov. Steve Sisolak on behalf of the J4NG organization at Ty’s Place – A Safe Space for Teens in Las Vegas. Gov. Sisolak, who is a member of the JAG national board and an advocate for the J4NG program in Nevada, applauded the organization for achieving its most successful year in the program’s history and overcoming the burdens of the pandemic.
“I am so proud of Jobs for Nevada’s Graduates for rising to the occasion during COVID-19 and ensuring students remained on track for graduation and career success,” said Gov. Sisolak. “By increasing student contact and providing extra support, J4NG saw its most successful year, which shows that Nevada students are among the most gifted, diverse and capable students in the nation, and sometimes all that is needed is a little extra help and support from programs like J4NG.”
Executive Director of J4NG, Dr. Rene Cantu, accepted a certificate of achievement on behalf of the organization, and thanked Gov. Sisolak for supporting the program and educational success in Nevada. He also honored the students who persevered through the strenuous circumstances this year and commended J4NG specialists for their tireless effort.
“Thank you to Gov. Sisolak for providing constant support and focusing on educational initiatives that provide positive results to those that are most vulnerable in our society,” says Dr. Cantu. “Our students at J4NG pushed through one of the toughest times in our nation’s history and came out stronger than ever. I am astonished by their perseverance and incredible will-power to reach success. Seeing the highest full-time job rate and record high graduation rates speaks to the strength of our students and dedication of our J4NG specialists.”
Throughout the ceremony, J4NG student graduates shared stories about how J4NG specialists guided them into the bright futures they lead now.
“While I was in J4NG, I was given the opportunity to learn about many different career pathways,” said J4NG graduate from Legacy High School, Trinity Pitts. “After graduating, I am now taking classes at CSN. After college, I have hopes of becoming an entrepreneur and without JAG, I don’t think that would be possible.”
Another student shared how J4NG helped her achieve college admission to her top school of choice.
“Because of the J4NG program and my advisor, I was not only able to graduate high school with honors, but also able to attend Northwest Career College – the college of my dreams – with a full scholarship,” said J4NG graduate from Western High School, Amanda Castillo.
One student commented how programs like J4NG help create new opportunities for students in which they may not have otherwise had, due to socioeconomic status.
“J4NG is helpful to students that don’t have the same opportunities that others have,” said J4NG graduate Harmony Afoa. “Especially when you live in a low income area, you’re able to be exposed to opportunities that help you and that’s what J4NG did for me.”
Other notable speakers included JAG President Ken Smith and Nevada State Assemblywoman Kasina Douglass-Boone.
This event, including all of its attendees, adhered to all of Nevada’s state guidelines as recommended by the CDC, including social distancing, wearing face masks, frequent sanitation of surfaces and did not exceed more than 50 percent capacity of the venue. This event took place in-person and virtually.
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