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Jobs for Washington's Graduates

Kaitlyn, graduating from high school thanks to JWG.

Kaitlyn, Lynden High School, Lynden

Kaitlyn attended Lynden High School and was enrolled in JWG her junior and senior years. JWG was key to Kaitlyn’s success. The program gave her a vision for her future and helped her generate momentum to get there.

Experiencing hardships from poverty and homelessness, Kaitlyn struggled academically and was at risk of dropping out of school. Then came JWG and her Specialist, Lisa Reynolds. The JWG class motivated her to come to school and with the one on one tutoring and mentorship provided by her Specialist, Kaitlyn improved her academics and met the graduation requirements.

Kaitlyn will tell you that without JWG, she is certain she would not have graduated. It provided her hope for her future and a roadmap to achieve her goals. Today, she is enrolled at a local community college pursing an associate's degree in communications.

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What is Jobs for Washington's Graduates?

Jobs for Washington's Graduates (JWG) helps young people stay in school through graduation. They also help reconnect students who have left high school without graduating by providing them an opportunity to attend a regional high school or skill center, work toward graduation, and get a job.

The Washington model follows the curriculum for the Jobs for America's Graduates (JAG) national program to provide students with personal management and employability skills.

It also connects students to career and technical education programs that give them technical skills leading to further education beyond high school, apprenticeships, and living-wage careers.

The Washington program provides the highest-risk students with positive mentors, who help them stay in school, improve academic achievement, and direct them toward a promising future that leads to employment or further education.



Need More Information?

The JWG program is managed by the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction. Call (360) 725-4964 or e-mail JWG@k12.wa.us.

Nathan, working at Western State Steel.

Nathan, New Tech Skills Center, Spokane

Nathan enrolled in JWG when he was 18 after previously dropping out of high school.  His family struggled financially. This affected his school attendance. He showed up less than half of the time. And, when he did attend, he struggled academically and socially. Feeling hopeless and discouraged, Nathan dropped out his sophomore year. He fell into the wrong crowd, and by the time he re-enrolled in school, he had a criminal record.

When Suzanne Gretch, the JWG Specialist at New Tech Skills Center, first started working with Nathan, she remembers Nathan telling her, “I really want a job because I know I am a hard worker, and it will help me feel like I belong somewhere, and I am doing something good for myself.” 

Nathan came to all of the JWG classes, and worked diligently on his skills. He also enrolled in the Welding Technology Program. He had new goals for his life. He wanted an apprenticeship as a journeyman welder.

Gretch partnered with the Spokane Area Workforce Development Council to place her students in paid internships. She contacted a local business that hires welders—Western State Steel—to see if they would employ Nathan. They took him on. After a few months, she  visited Nathan at work. He was thriving. He was the model worker, out-performing employees who were 10 years older. He was punctual, a good listener, followed directions, and had a positive attitude. These are skills that were taught in the JWG classroom and Nathan had successfully transferred them to the workplace.

Nathan graduated and was hired by Western State Steel. He used his earnings to pay for a 6-week professional welding certification course and is now employed full-time as a professional welder. Nathan feels successful and happy. His future is set.


Luis, Mt. Tahoma High School, Tacoma

Before being accepted into the JWG program in February of 2012, Luis was struggling with his high school credits, and was worried he would not graduate. Aside from school, he was working a part-time job, and helping his mother take care of his other siblings. Luis’ family had also moved 5 times in 11 years—yet another challenge for his academic success.

The JWG program has helped Luis get caught up in his classes, and stay on track for graduation. He has also picked up a few additional skills including job interview preparation. In his own words: “My life has changed completely and it’s all for this program and Mrs. Arneberg.”

Graciela, Mt. Tahoma High School, Tacoma

Graciela never had an easy childhood. After her parents divorced, she moved around from place to place with her mother and three siblings, hoping to find any sense of normalcy in the next city they landed. She always felt like the slower student in class, often cracking jokes to hide the fact that she didn’t know what was being discussed in her courses, and was too scared to ask questions.

“Our class is one of a kind,” says Graciella. “We don’t just help each other with school work; we care about what happens to one another as well.” Since joining JWG in 2012, Graciella’s grades have improved dramatically and she’s learned new job skills. What’s even more? She’s made friends she now refers to as “family.”

Kourtneyrose, Mt. Tahoma High School, Tacoma

Kourtneyrose never believed that she could make a life for herself. Not a single family member had graduated high school, and as the youngest of five siblings, she didn’t see the point in trying, either. The downward spiral began in seventh grade, and as the years passed, Kourtneyrose started giving up on herself…and her future altogether. At the start of her sophomore year, she was considered a freshman academically, and had a long road of “catching up” ahead of her.

However, once she was accepted into the JWG program, things started to turn around. Kourtneyrose’s grades started improving. She started trusting her teachers and peers—something she had not felt in awhile. “I started to try harder in school because of the fact that I have at least one person who believes in me, and wants me to prove to them that I CAN do it.”

Samantha, NewTech Skills Center, Spokane

When Samantha joined JWG, she was three months pregnant. When she was interviewed for JWG,she was asked how she felt about her situation, her plans for her baby, and her plans for her future. She said, "I know this is going to be hard. I have a plan though. My plan is to finish high school strong, go to college and raise my child."

That being said, Samantha went on to demonstrate her plan. She attended JWG class every week, and attended her academic classes every day. Through JWG class, she obtained a seasonal job with Sears as a cashier. She delivered her baby boy at the end of March. She took four weeks away from school at that time to attend to her baby. When she returned in May. Samantha was ahead of schedule on her completion for graduation. Never once did Samantha say, "Poor me," or "This is so hard," or "I am too tired," or "I can't do this."

Samantha came back and attended every JWG class and attended her academic classes on a weekly basis to finish school. She completed high school with a 3.0 GPA, her highest in her high school career. She is enrolled in Spokane Community College for fall quarter. She also went to a job fair at the Northern Quest Casino and is now employed as a server at the casino for the summer.



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