Baldwyn High School has a new class called Jobs for Mississippi Graduates (JMG). This is the first year for this class, but it is part of a nationwide and statewide program. It is under the umbrella of JAG, Jobs for America’s Graduates. The main focus in this class is employability skills, but it goes much further than that. It is designed to help students with graduating, ACT testing, life skills, diversity, and improving a person’s attitude and self-esteem.
The class begins by discussing household budgets. The students use a sales paper from a local grocery store. Everything from housing to gas to food, etc. is built into the budget, along with a $10.00 per hour job. Predictably, the students are always shocked with the results. The students are given a journal to write their opinions about everything from quotes, to life situations, to responses to trips, and to motivational films or shorts we have seen. The journal is an instrument to encourage students to voice their feelings, knowing that an opinion is just that.
Applications, interviewing process
The students are active in the computer lab. They research careers, ethic situations, insurance companies, etc. The students give class speeches and not only learn how to give them but how to listen to them. The students spend a significant amount of time learning to properly fill out applications. The students also spend a significant amount of time on the interview process.
One of the more popular things we do is a program called “ServeSafe.” This program details how to properly prepare food, to serve food, clean areas, protect against contamination, and store the food. Students have to pass a test and then are given a certificate that should help them when applying for a job in the food industry.
Several days are spent on ethics. How insurance works is emphasized in detail. Part of this program is for each student to call an insurance agency and ask the agent a question about insurance. The conversation is played over speaker phone and the answer to the question often leads to follow up questions. One of the almost daily points of emphasis in this class is the improvement of the student’s self-esteem.
This year’s class has also had two field trips. One was to the Civil Rights Museum in Memphis. This was an awesome trip and had a tremendous impact on the students. The class also visited the ICC campus in Fulton. For most students, this was their first trip on a college campus. The class has an upcoming trip planned to the Toyota facility in February.
The students have also had the pleasure of having four guest speakers. Terry Ledbetter spoke on having a vision and setting goals. Missy Gary spoke on “The career you want may not be the career you need”. Jim Peterman spoke on giving back to the community. Odessa Ingram spoke on overcoming adversity to achieve your dreams.
The class was involved in one community project when they collected 120 canned food items for the local food pantry.