Melanny Garcia Flores came to the United States in September 2016 from El Salvador. She was held at an immigration center for two months in Texas until her uncle was able to get custody and take her to New York. In July 2019, she arrived in Storm Lake to live with her aunt. This journey was very difficult for a nine-year-old, but she perceived it to be an inspiration to work hard so that she could have better opportunities. She also wanted her siblings and parents to be proud of her given the sacrifices they had made for her.
Legislative Days give students the chance to meet with local and state leaders to promote the impact of iJAG and share their personal stories and aspirations for the future while putting their leadership and soft skills into practice. This year, more than 250 students visited the Iowa Capitol in Des Moines across two separate days. During the event, we were able to catch up with iJAG senior, Sisi, of Cedar Rapids Prairie High School. Read more in this article about her journey from Africa and how our program has inspired her plans for the future.
What’s the importance of iJAG’s middle school program model? A comprehensive support system filled with strategies that help youth remediate early onset academic challenges, get connected with community resources at a young age, and receive awareness about potential career paths!
Volunteer and support the state’s largest youth leadership conference of the year! iJAG is looking for virtual volunteers to judge preliminary student competitions between February 5 – 9, 2024. Competitions include Business Plan, Career Prep, Prepared Speaking, Project-Based Learning Showcase, Employability Skills, and the L.O.V.E. Project.
Our drive to jobs in skilled trades is creating sparks! As employer partnerships continue to grow, so do opportunities for our students.
Just last week, iJAG student Matthew Deshamp of GMG High School earned first place in a welding competition open to students across the state. The competition took place at the Skilled Trades Convention hosted by the Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) of Iowa.
Earlier this month, eight student leaders joined staff members for an annual trip to Washington, D.C. From meeting up with iJAG alum and National Career Association President Kira Canada for some sight-seeing to visiting with Iowa legislators on Capitol Hill before attending the National Student Leadership Academy (NSLA), this trip was filled with unforgettable experiences that help shape our young people and the future of iJAG.
This fall, we were thrilled to launch the iJAG ALUMNi NETWORK with kickoff events in Des Moines and Iowa City. With more than 30 alumni in attendance, it was humbling to hear firsthand how our program and Education Specialists have made a life-changing impact on their careers and lives.
On October 20, Arconic hosted more than 200 Quad Cities area iJAG students for a first-ever Manufacturing Career Expo. The event was held at the Arconic Learning Center with six different occupations/units represented. Those included skilled trades (Roll Grinders, Machinists, Electricians), Information Technology, Engineering and Production.
The iJAG Leadership Development Conference (LDC) sponsored by the Wellmark Foundation was held in Des Moines at the Iowa Events Center on November 3. The event hosted nearly 1,100 students from across the state who were recently elected by their peers to serve as local Career Association officers!
Wendy Mihm-Herold stepped into her role to serve as the President & CEO of iJAG in January 2023. With her extensive experience, Wendy is well-equipped to connect education with in-demand careers and workforce opportunities, benefiting students and enhancing community vitality throughout the state.