Indiana News

School workforce program expands with $23M in grants

(Photo Supplied/Indiana House Republicans)

INDIANAPOLIS (Inside Indiana Business) – A school program looking to reduce barriers and expand workforce opportunities will double its footprint in Indiana as the state continues to execute its priority to build such opportunities.

The Jobs for America’s Graduates program will increase its 125 current programs to 250 by the next school year after the Department of Workforce Development and the Family and Social Services Administration partnered to direct $23.1 million in Temporary Assistance for Needy Families toward the initiative.

The state hopes to launch 40 new programs at Indiana high schools and colleges by January and another 45 by August 2024. It plans for the last installment of 40 to be implemented by January 2025.

“Every day, Indiana’s JAG program is helping more Hoosier students achieve their career and personal goals—all while helping ensure our state is prepared to meet 21st century workforce demands,” Gov. Eric Holcomb said in a news release. “With this expansion, more Hoosier communities and schools will be taking advantage of JAG’s proven results and experience the positive effects of partnerships at the state, regional and local levels.”

After the new wave, the state estimates that 10,000 high school students can participate. The resiliency-building workforce program works to give students in-demand skills and career exploration opportunities. It works to bridge high school into post-secondary and career ideas.

“The skills students obtain while in JAG go beyond just getting a job; they leave high school as leaders in their community, they’re more confident and they have a sense of purpose,” DWD Commissioner Richard Paulk said. “The growth of Indiana’s JAG program ensures opportunities for a new generation of student leaders across our state.”

The JAG program has reached 40,000 students since 2006 with a 95% graduation rate, Holcomb’s office said. The 2022-23 class graduated with 83% full-time employment rate and 39% pursuing further education, earning $23.2 million in grants and scholarships.

The FSSA’s Division of Disability and Rehabilitative Services Vocational Rehabilitation program will continue to contribute $1.5 million toward supporting children with disabilities in the program.

Schools in line to receive an expansion program are those who have previously expressed interest in a program and have lower graduation rates and or free-or-reduced lunches. Middle school pilot sites aligning with JAG priorities and College Success Program expansion will also be considered.

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