Out-of-School (OOS) Program
The Out-of-School (OOS) program operated in the state of California by Jobs for California Graduates (J4CG), an affiliate of Jobs for American Graduates (JAG) nationwide, is designed to serve youth (ages 16-24) who have left the traditional school system and are interested in completing requirements for a high school diploma or attain a GED (verify availability with educational provider or school of attendance). The primary mission of this JAG Model program is to prevent or recover dropouts and to provide an array of counseling, employability and technical skills development, professional association, job development, and job placement services that will result in either a quality job leading to a career after graduation and/or enrollment in a postsecondary education and training program.
- The program targets dropouts or who are no longer enrolled in a traditional school system or “opportunity youth” that may be at risk for dropping out of school. These youth normally experience severe academic, economic, family and personal barriers to complete requirements for a high school diploma or a GED.
- The JAG Out-of-School Program works with 35-45 students in a cohort to enable them to achieve all requirements for a high school diploma or a GED and then to transition to a positive destination in the form of a job, postsecondary education or the military.
- Program participants are selected based on leaving the traditional school system without a diploma and other barriers impeding success, although they must want, need and can profit from a JAG Model program. The vast majority of “opportunity youth” find themselves in a difficult situation because of their demographic characteristics, past behavior, and perceived barriers to staying in and completing high school or transitioning to a quality job and/or postsecondary education. Without a high school diploma, the workplace does not reward young people with well-paying employment opportunities.
- The JAG intervention in the OOS program should be no greater than 24 months, which includes the 12-month follow-up period. Opportunity youth are recruited to attend JAG instructional classes and they receive support services for a year following completion of a high school diploma or GED.
- A trained career specialist provides counseling and classroom instruction. Participants are also equipped with employability skills in 20 employability competencies that will prepare them for the workplace. These competencies are organized in the following six competency categories: career development, job attainment, job survival, basic skills, leadership and self-development, and personal skills competencies.
- In addition to instruction in the core competencies, the OOS program uses the professional association (similar to the career association) to prepare participants for the demands of the workplace, especially work teams. Specialists observe program participants operating in work teams and offer instruction to improve individual and group performance.
- OOS program services also include a 12-month follow-up period during which specialists are actively involved in intensive one-on-one employer marketing and job development activities to identify entry-level job opportunities for participants upon completion of a high school diploma or attainment of a GED certificate.
- Specialists also assist graduates in the exploration of postsecondary educational opportunities and show them how to navigate the financial aid process to pursue these opportunities.
- Participants receive assistance in graduating from high school or completing requirements for a GED certificate.
- OOS specialists track the labor market and schooling/training activities of these JAG participants on a monthly basis.
- One of the key components of the JAG OOS Program is the provision of follow-up services for up to a year following graduation or attainment of a GED. The follow-up activities of specialists are critical to documenting the labor market and schooling/training experiences of completers. Information on the post-completion labor market, schooling, and training outcomes of JAG participants is to be collected regularly by the specialist.
- Numerous contacts are expected to be attempted every month to obtain information on the activities of each graduate. The information is obtained either directly from the participant, from the employer of the participant, or from some other source such as an adult family member.
- Those JAG participants for whom successful follow-up contacts are made are classified into one of 12 possible categories, based upon what they were doing at the time of the contact.
- OOS participants are classified as working (full-time or part-time), serving in the military, enrolled in school (4-year, 2-year, or other), or mixing work and school, or not employed and not in school.
- The last group of “at-risk” participants consists of two subgroups: those who were looking for work (unemployed) and those who were not seeking employment (out of the labor force). Minimizing the size of this last group is a core objective of a JAG Model program.
JAG Specialists are held accountable for the following outcomes:
- 50 percent GED and/or high school graduation rate
- 80 percent experiencing a positive outcome, including: employment, postsecondary education enrollment, or military
- 60 percent employed in a job in the public or private sectors
- 60 percent employed in a full-time job
- 80 percent in a full-time placement, including: full-time job; full-time postsecondary enrollment; or, a combination of work and school
- 80 percent improvement in study habits
- 90 percent participation in JAG Professional Association meetings and activities
- 80 percent increase using pre- and post-test knowledge assessment
- 90 percent participation in service learning projects
- 80 percent decline in discipline referrals
- Students are selected with no less than 5.0 average number of barriers
- 90 percent of participants with reduction in one or more barriers
- Average number of contact hours per participant: 80 contact hours
- Average number of JAG competencies attained: 20
- 100 percent of participants are being tracked accurately and in a timely manner using the Electronic National Data Management System (e-NDMS)
- 5 percent or less of graduates in the unable to contact rate category
- 30 percent pursuit of a postsecondary education