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State program to help PVH’s at-risk seniors and juniors

A program designed to help at-risk students stay in school and become successful after graduation has been approved for Pahrump Valley High.

Nye County School District’s Board of Trustees entered into an agreement on Tuesday with the state to implement the multi-year dropout prevention program. The program is designed for struggling high school junior and senior students.

Jobs for Nevada Graduates, or JAGNV, is a program that takes students who are a little off-track for graduation due to various circumstances in their lives, which can have negative consequences as they enter the job market.

Jobs for Nevada Graduates will fund the district up to $70,000 for the program’s related staff positions, which will be an employee of the program not the district. There is no financial impact to the school district.

One of the most common complaints from potential employers is the fact that young workers do not have the skills to be ready for the workplace.

Karen Holley, the school district’s coordinator of federal and state programs said Jobs for Nevada Graduates develops those skills in its participants to help them realize their potential.

“Some students don’t understand the importance of getting their homework in on time and things like that,” she said. “If they are motivated to participate in the program, the teacher will help them get back on track, and be their mentor throughout their high school years.”

Holley said the program, endorsed by eight Nevada school district superintendents, and Gov. Brian Sandoval, has a very high success rate among students who chose to enroll, as it is not mandatory. At present, more than 20 Nevada schools are participating in the program.

Program officials tout a 90 percent GED or high school graduate rate, while 80 percent of the students experienced a positive outcome, including employment, post-secondary education or enlisting in the military.

“We looked at some of the data and found it to be very, very positive,” she said. “That’s the real focus for kids who need just a little bit of help and a little bit of mentoring so it’s really a great program to just support. They have seen some very positive results.”

Sandoval, who broke ranks with some fellow Republicans during the 2015 legislative session over education funding, said Nevada adopted Jobs for Nevada’s Graduates to serve as a lifeline for at-risk youth in the Silver State.

“We are excited about this multi-faceted program that helps guide our students toward a successful future,” he said. “We cannot allow any of our young people to fall through the cracks. The program has a solid track record and we are already seeing measurable success in Nevada.”

The program’s duration is 36 months, where students are required in their sophomore year to attend the instructional classes for their junior and senior years.

Additionally, the program goes beyond a student’s high school career, as those who participate are followed up on for one year after graduation or completing their General Education Requirements.

Holley said JNG “specialists” deliver counseling and employment skills as well as job development and placement services with the hope of gaining employment or acquiring the skills to succeed in college.

The specialists also track the labor market and training activities of the students each month.

She said after a visit to a Clark County school, Nye County officials were sold on the idea which has no fiscal impact for the district, as it is funded through the Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation.

“A specialist will be hired to administer the program with our high school principal so it’s a great partnership,” she said. “Myself, Principal Chris Brockman and Superintendent Dale Norton took a look at the program and how it worked at the high school there and we were really interested in getting it going out here.”

District officials are not wasting any time to implement the program.

The program will start in the fall, as district trustees approved a memorandum of understanding June 23 for green-lighting the program. District officials would like to implement the program at other schools in the district.

“They’re interested in starting a program at Tonopah High School if there is enough funding to support another program in the state,” Holley said. “It’s a great program because I love how it focuses more attention on the kids who need it. Parents will be notified of the program beginning the next school semester.”

The memorandum of understanding will expire on June 30, 2017, with renewal based on legislative and other funding availability.

The Nevada program is based on the national Jobs for American Graduates model launched in Delaware in 1979. It has since been adopted by 32 states.

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