JAG prepares students for workPublished 9:17am Thursday, February 24, 2011
JAG is a state program set up for the purpose of fostering leadership development, career preparation, citizenship and social awareness skills in ninth through twelfth grade students.
The purpose is to educate high school students about the many options available to them after they graduate from high school. Tina King, who is in her first year as the Phil Campbell JAG specialist, told the group that attending a four-year college isn’t the only option and many good careers are available to those who are willing to work to have those careers.
“It is no longer assumed that you go to college right after high school,” King said. “And not everyone can afford college. Some people have to work before they have enough money to go.
“Programs like JAG help you develop skills to enter the workforce for those who choose to do that instead of college, and it makes students prepared to be productive citizens.”
King said students who participate in JAG also do community service projects for the school, go to competitions for resume writing and interview skills, and work on other areas that help students prepare for jobs.
Sen. Roger Bedford spoke to the group about the jobs available to them in Alabama and the importance of each person in the workforce, whether they are white collar or blue collar.
“In my experience, I have found that even multi-million dollar business cannot run unless basic needs are met,” Bedford said. “This includes having air conditioners and heaters running, plumbing working, electricity flowing and many other things that add up to a successful business.”
Bedford said with the constantly changing technology, job opportunities become available every day.
“Right now, there is more power in the iPhone 4 than there was in all the computers used to put a man on the moon and bring him back,” Bedford said, “and one of the most popular apps for one of these phones was developed by a 16-year-old kid who will make lots of money off of it.
“You have great opportunities at this school and in your future. You just have to be willing to take these opportunities if you want to be successful.”
Bedford also talked to the students about the importance of agri-business careers, especially in Alabama.
“The fresh-water shrimp business is something that is really taking off here as well as rabbit farming and aluminum welding down in Mobile,” Bedford said, “and each one of these businesses has value-added steps or jobs where people are making good money for necessary services.
“There are more opportunities available to you than you can imagine, but it won’t happen if you want somebody else to do all the work for you. You have to be willing to work and make sacrifices and do it yourself.”
Bedford said programs like JAG are essential to promoting all these untapped opportunities and students should take advantage of the resources JAG offers.
“Don’t be afraid to ask questions of other people who can help you,” Bedford said. “Men and women who are now doing important things were sitting in classrooms just like you not too many years ago.”