Outstanding Student Leaders Recognized at LEAD Conference

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HELENA — The Montana Department of Labor & Industry today recognized high school students for their pursuit of academic excellence and leadership development at the Jobs for Montana’s Graduates (JMG) 26th annual LEAD Montana Conference.

“The LEAD Conference continues to teach our future graduates the skills they need to be successful in their next step in life,” Erica Swanson, state director of JMG said. “Over the last 30 years we have served 20,000 students with a graduation rate of over 95 %. I want to thank the support we receive from teachers, parents, educators and businesses contributing to the success of JMG students.”

JMG, a Department of Labor & Industry program dedicated to teaching students the skills they need for college or career readiness, hosts the conference each year to provide an opportunity for students to meet with public and private business leaders and expand their leadership skills. The 2019 LEAD Montana Conference brought 250 students from schools across Montana together to participate in training sessions and engage with fellow students. Students then bring the guidance and instruction they learned home with them to share with their local JMG chapter and school.

Two teachers, Janice Rorvik from Nashua Middle School/High School and Mary Marchart from Culbertson Middle School/High School, were presented with the Job’s for America’s Graduates (JAG) High Performer Award and will travel to Washington, D.C. in December. Both awardees will represent Montana at the National Student Leadership Academy.

Montana high schools that reached all “5-of-5” standards were also recognized at the event. JMG received its 4th consecutive “5-of-5 Award” in September, as the program continues to exceed goals in serving Montana students who face barriers to graduation. Outstanding career specialists were also awarded for their commitment to helping Montana students achieve their career goals.

Helena Mayor Wilmot Collins and JMG alumna Kadie Foster from Butte High School also spoke at the event.

Foster, the conference keynote speaker, now works as a service area administrator at Aware Inc, a provider of early childhood, mental health, and developmental disabilities services in Montana.

“Jobs for Montana’s Graduates gave me the leadership skills I needed to succeed,” Foster said. “Thanks in large part to JMG, I am now successful in my career helping others and will pass those traits down to my children.”

About Jobs for Montana’s Graduates

JMG is a state chapter of Job’s for America’s Graduates (JAG), a national organization dedicated to improving outcomes among students that have serious hurdles to graduation and/or employment. The program started as a JAG chapter 29 years ago to serve middle and high school students across Montana. JMG continues to provide outstanding results for youth who participate in the program across the state. 

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