September 17, 2008 13:55 ET

Symposium to Examine Policy Ideas for Academic and Economic Solutions for At-Risk Minority Youth

Chairman of the House Education and Labor Committee, Representative George Miller D-CA, to Open Event; Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings to Give Luncheon Remarks

WASHINGTON, DC--(Marketwire - September 17, 2008) - Jobs for America's Graduates (JAG) will convene their second annual thought leader symposium titled "Closing the Achievement Gap in Education and Employment Outcomes for At-Risk Minority Youth" to provide a forum for policymakers and education experts to discuss proven solutions and advance efforts to close achievement gaps. Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings will give the luncheon remarks. In addition, the Chairman of the House Education and Labor Committee, Congressman George Miller, will open the event that will be chaired by Maine Governor John Baldacci, Chair of the JAG Board of Directors.

WHAT:   "Closing the Achievement Gap in Education and Employment
        Outcomes for At-Risk Minority Youth"
WHEN:   September 23, 2008
        10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
WHERE:  Columbus Club, Union Station, 50 Massachusetts Ave.,
        NE, Washington, D.C.

JAG is working on this event in collaboration with the: Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation; National Urban League; National Council of La Raza; Congressional Black Caucus Foundation; Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute; and Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus.

JAG will bring together leaders from the Administration, the Congressional Committees, the three Congressional Ethnic Caucuses, concerned businesses, as well as foundations and advocacy groups, to allow for important interaction across the political, business, ethnic, and support landscapes. Discussion will focus on policy and programs that have been proven to work at closing achievement gaps, at-scale, over time, and with independent research.

"We could not be more pleased with the bi-partisan commitment of so many of the nation's public and private sector leaders to join in a fresh assessment of how to take advantage of national successful programs to inform future federal and state policies focused on economic and academic achievement for minority youth," says JAG President Ken Smith.

JAG's mission is to establish state organizations committed to implementing the JAG Model for both in-school and out-of-school young people. JAG Model Programs deliver a unique set of services to targeted youth in high school, including 12 months of post-graduation follow-up services that will result in the graduate pursuing a post-secondary education and/or entering the workforce in a quality job leading to a career.

The one-day conference will be attended by Sen. George Voinovich; Rep. Howard McKeon, Ranking Republican, House Education and Labor Committee; Rep. Mike Honda, Chairman, Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus; Rep. Joe Baca, Chairman, Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute; Rep. Danny Davis, Congressional Black Caucus Foundation; and Marc Morial, President, National Urban League; among others.

The event will also feature leaders from Fortune 500 companies whom are placing new priority on supporting proven solutions for academic and economic achievement for high-risk youth including: AT&T, Verizon, State Farm Insurance, Archer Daniels Midland and Shell Oil Company; among many others.

The day's agenda is as follows:

--  Opening Remarks
--  Presentation of the Problem
--  Synopsis of the Challenges and the Opportunities
--  Perspectives of the Co-Hosts, Part I
--  Private Sector Initiatives Focused on Solutions
--  JAG Student Presentation
--  Lunch
--  Exploration of Policy Strategies for Bringing "What Works" To-Scale,
    Part I
--  A Vision for Education, Keynote address by Secretary of Education
    Margaret Spellings
--  Exploration of Policy Strategies for Bringing "What Works" To-Scale,
    Part II
--  Perspective of the Co-Hosts, Part II
--  Policy Roundtable: Senior Congressional Staff and Senior Private
    Sector Leadership
--  Conclusions and Next Steps

Lunch and other refreshments will be provided. For general information, please contact Jessa Mickelson at (703) 684-9479.

Media interested in attending should contact Jason Baran at (609) 683-2428 or

About JAG

Jobs for America's Graduates (JAG) is a non-profit organization and youth development program dedicated to helping at-risk youth graduate from high school and make a successful transition to postsecondary education or meaningful employment. JAG has served over 600,000 youth since its inception in 1980 and is currently helping 45,000 young people in 800 high schools, middle schools, community colleges, alternative schools and other locations in 30 states to achieve academic, career and life success. For more information about JAG go to