How Engaged are TN Workers?

Do you like your job?
Really like it?
Take it or leave it?
Leave it as in “Johnny Paycheck” leave it?

A new Gallup poll reveals that 37% of Alabama workers are engaged at work, with Tennessee slightly behind at 35%. (Back in my much younger days I would have been part of an “engaged” workforce but getting engaged to a women in the same line of work wasn’t the focus of this story.  (Admit it, you thought this post might be going down that road too).

Story Highlights

  • 37% of Alabama workers are engaged at work
  • West Virginia as the highest percentage of actively disengaged workers
  • States with more actively disengaged workers have higher unemployment rates
  • 13 states including Tennessee have workers who are 35% engaged or higher

Click here for the full report.  It’s worth checking out, especially the definition of workers who are engaged, not engaged and actively disengaged (I would apply the ol’ 10-foot pole rule to those disgruntled grumblers.  This would be Johnny Paycheck territory).

So what are some common denominators of workers who are highly engaged?

  • self-employed on a full-time basis
  • high school graduates, but not college graduates
  • employed in blue-collar roles in industries such as transportation, installation and repair, and farming and fishing

I find it reassuring that a high school degree is such an important threshold for successful engagement at work.  Jobs for Tennessee Graduates (JTG)  guides at-risk high school students toward graduation at a 99% success rate.  But that’s just the beginning.  JTG specialists have worked with those students to find their true career interests whether that includes post-secondary education or entering the workforce full-time after graduation.  JTG isn’t about finding a job.  It’s about finding the right career path.

In speaking to countless high school senior classes about a career in broadcasting, I would preach to find a true passion and don’t just chase the money.  Being unhappy at work affects every other segment of your life.  All those other segments include spouses, family and friends.  Think about it.  Know somebody unhappy at work?  Yep, probably not a day brightner to be around after work.

Love your work?  Chances are you are happier and engaged (and might even find a fiance)!

On the subject of engagement, does the JTG mission resonate with you?  Feel free to check out JTG”s new website at and click on the donate button if are are compelled to assist JTG financially.  Any questions or comments?  Gimmee.  Gimmee.  Gimmee.

Have a great Tuesday.



By |2017-02-21T14:55:41+00:00February 21st, 2017|Uncategorized|2 Comments

About the Author:

Call it John Dwyer 2.0 After 29 years as a TV Broadcaster, Dwyer is President & CEO of Jobs for Tennessee Graduates (JTG). JTG, an affiliate of Jobs for America’s Graduates (JAG), is a non-profit organization dedicated to stewarding at-risk high school students toward graduation with follow through toward post-secondary education and/or job opportunities. Associated with JAG since 1981, JTG consistently obtains a graduation rate above 90-percent with a full-time job rate at nearly 70-percent. The most vulnerable, socioeconomically challenged young men and women, graduate with self-esteem with the realization and skill set to achieve success after high school. Does it get much better than that? Dwyer, is a resident of the Nashville area since 1996. He was sports director and/or a news anchor at TV stations in Nashville, Jacksonville, Florida; Ft. Myers, FL and his hometown of South Bend, Indiana. He is a 10-time Mid-South Region Emmy Award winner, along with winning numerous other awards. He is also a former Heisman Trophy voter. John is a 1985 graduate of Butler University, where he majored in Radio/TV while minoring in journalism. An avid running (or “plodder” as he likes to call himself), Dwyer runs in Nashville’s annual marathon. (Current tally: 7 Full, 10 Half). He accomplished a goal, once thought out of reach, be qualifying and running in the Boston Marathon in 2009. Married to Lynley, Dwyer resides in East Nashville with his wife and dog Lola. Dwyer served on the Make-A-Wish Middle Tennessee board from 2006-2012, and was board chairman for three years.


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JTG on the Frontlines for Equality

Supporting and Empowering our Communities of Color

COVID-19 Update

JAG and JTG Statement in Response to COVID-19

 As we are all feeling, COVID-19 has shifted how the world operates in a way that is unprecedented for our generation, and Jobs for America’s Graduates (JAG) and Jobs for Tennessee Graduates (JTG), one of 39 JAG state affiliates, are no exception. The impact of the coronavirus and the immediate danger it presents has closed our education system, directly affecting students and their families. This is especially detrimental to JTG students, who often look to their JTG Specialists and classmates for steadiness and security in their lives.

We also recognize that our students and their families are disproportionately affected by the closure of restaurants, stores, bars, and other service-industry places of work. These jobs often provide the entry-level opportunities our students need to enter the workforce. A difficult environment is likely to continue for some time, so we are in the process to reposition our training and support to make the best case for our JTG students to be considered for employment.

At a time when we must social distance ourselves to protect each other, the thousands of JTG students we serve need us more than ever.  We are responding to and encouraged by the requests from many JTG Specialists to access online learning modules and platforms provided by JAG educational partners like the Skills to Succeed Academy, EverFi, and Tallo. We are excited to see the interest in the JAG Genius and the use of virtual connectivity and the online sense of community – something we all need in these times.

Jobs for America’s Graduates (JAG) and Jobs for Tennessee Graduates (JTG) recognize we need to modify the way we provide support and deliver competencies to our students during this time of uncertainty. In response to the way business and education are adapting (in real time) to COVID-19,  JAG National is establishing new protocols and processes to ensure full, virtual engagement with our young people to ensure they have the competencies they need to meet the very competitive job market ahead. That is why JAG is providing the immediate recommendations below that are of highest priority, which impact the day-to-day lives of our students and Specialists. Like our world right now, please know that these are in real-time and subject to change.


Moving forward, we will have ongoing recommendations that will be built into new practices that will serve as both short- and long-term solutions to continue JAG’s data-driven model. This will help us remain accountable to our students, our partners, funders, and each other.