Gov. Mark Sanford today praised the achievements of students from around the state at the third annual Jobs for America's Graduates - South Carolina (JAG-SC) Career Development Conference. Begun five years ago as a joint project between the Administration, the Department of Commerce and the State Workforce Investment Board, this dropout prevention program graduated its first students last year - highlighted by a 94 percent graduation rate that well outpaced the national JAG standard.
"Our state's JAG program has done phenomenal work in helping at-risk students realize their potential and employ their talents in a way that contributes to this larger notion of community and the South Carolina way of life," Gov. Sanford said. "JAG-SC provides that extra investment of time and mentoring that many young people need and indeed desire, and by any standard it has been an incredibly successful effort. That's why we're encouraged that JAG-SC is expanding into six more schools this fall, bringing to 26 the number of South Carolina schools that will house this innovative and ultimately difference-making program.
"The numbers speak for themselves: over the last five years JAG-SC over 800 saw a 46 percent reduction in absenteeism, a 25 percent reduction in suspensions, a 45 percent improvement in GPA scores, and a return-to-school rate of 97 percent in the fall of 2008. It's not often we see that level of success in a government program, and for that reason I'd give real credit to Dr. Peggy Torrey and her team at the Department of Commerce, and urge them to continue their efforts on this front. It's also important to remember that JAG-SC and the State Workforce program are transferring to the new Department of Employment and Workforce."