As state superintendent of public instruction, I found the Oct. 26 Columbian editorial, “School=Job=Money,” well researched. The Jobs for Washington’s Graduates program is in the Career and College Readiness Division within the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction. We are in the second year for JWG and have 16 returning schools and 20 new sites, including one at Clark County Skills Center and four new sites in the Vancouver School District. Schools are anxious to be partners in this program because it has amazing results with students.
I believe in accountability and haven’t seen a dropout prevention, intervention and retrieval program with higher standards or greater accountability than Jobs for America’s Graduates. One of the reasons for its tremendous success is that the specialists follow the students for a full year after they graduate. The specialist is often the “caring adult” in the student’s life. The students are our future, and it’s critical that they become productive members of society and contribute to our economic recovery.
A great deal of credit for this program goes to the Southwest Washington legislators who voted for funding, including Rep. Tim Probst, D-Vancouver, the prime sponsor of the legislation that provided resources to implement JWG. I’m hopeful that this vital program will not be impacted by the legislative budgets.