Montana’s JMG Program Sets the Standard for the Rest of the Nation / by David Lawrence

(Helena, MT) The Department of Labor and Industry’s Jobs for Montana’s Graduates (JMG) program ranks number one in the nation for positive outcomes and for the eighth year in a row the program is being recognized with the “5 for 5” Award. “JMG’s continued success is a testament to the hard work and dedication of both the students and the career specialists who work with them”, said Labor Commissioner Pam Bucy. “To see so many students who faced barriers to graduation succeed and receive national recognition is extremely rewarding.”

The ratings come from the National Organization, Jobs for America’s Graduates Program, which establishes performance outcomes for students enrolled in JMG. The standards include graduation rate, positive outcomes of transitioning to work, post-secondary education, military, and full-time job placements. Montana’s numbers in these areas are as follows:

· 97.84% graduate from High School

· 82.87 are working

· 96.69% are working, in the military, and/or attending college

· 93.61% are in full time placement (including jobs, schooling, etc…)

· 75.33% in full time employment and/or military

Fifteen Montana schools were recognized with a “5 of 5” award at the local level. They are: Billings Career Center, Bridger High School, Butte High School, Cascade High School, Frenchtown High School, Fromberg High School, Glasgow High School, Helena High School, Libby High School, Plains High School, Roberts High School, Scobey High School, Sidney High School, Troy High School, and Whitefish High School.

Eight Careers Specialists were also recognized by JAG as “Outstanding Specialists”. They are: Tedi Bishop, Brady-Dutton Middle School; Rodney Head, Whitehall High School; Marcy Machart, Culbertson High and Middle School; Laura McCrohan, Libby Central Alternative High School; Phil McLendon, Frenchtown High School; Marie Rauch, Project for Alternative Learning; March Rochin, Polson High School; and Elaine Stedman, Sidney High School.

The JMG program is also a big success on Montana’s Reservations. The graduation rate for Indian students is 100%; these students typically enter the program with 5 barriers to success including: excessive absences, inadequate or no work experience, residing in economically disadvantaged conditions, low academic performance and lacking marketable occupational skills.

JMG currently serves approximately 950 students in 33 High Schools, 11 Middle Schools, five alternative High Schools and one “Out-of-School” Program.