JTG Day, People Watching, Final Four and Preds

Representative Brenda Gilmore meets with students and JTG specialists from Maplewood and Stratford. All the state lawmakers were gracious and sincerely interested in JTG and the students.

Random thoughts on a Friday morning in a Brentwood coffee shop before a donor coffee…
(I did this on the Dwyerwire blog back in the day and thought it was a good way to wrap up the week)

Best sales advice?
Play to your strength.
That’s what Jobs for Tennessee Graduates (JTG) did recently at Tennessee State Legislature and Capitol.  As JTG continues its quest for state re-investment and build awareness, “JTG Day on the Hill” brought together nearly 30 JTG students to meet state lawmakers on their own turf, along with  taking in the sights and sounds of Capitol Hill.  Anderson County Career & Technical Center, Centennial High School, Columbia Central High School, East Hickman High School, Hickman County High School, Fairview High School, Maplewood High School, Mt. Pleasant High School and Stratford STEM Magnet High School were all represented as they mingled with state senators and representatives.  Many even worked in a tour of the Capitol and lunch outside on a mild, beautiful Nashville day.

Lt. Governor McNally addresses Anderson Co. Career & Technical Center JTG students in his private conference room.

“This is pretty cool,” said JTG student Charles Portherfield as the Anderson County Career & Technical Center contingent made its way into Lt. Governor Randy McNally‘s big conference room.  Their state senator, who happens to hold among the most powerful positions in state government was engaging as he asked each student about their career goals.
“Forensic science.”
“Nurse practitioner.”
“Physical therapy.”
The list went on and on.
ACCTC senior Hannah Towns reflected on the meeting, “It seems that even our closest friends might not care what we grow up to be become.  Mr. McNally does, and wants us to go far in life even if he only knew us for 45 minutes.”
The students didn’t go away empty-handed.  Mr. McNally’s staff gave each student a 2015-16 “Blue Book” which contains the unabridged past and present of state government.  Students asked him to sign the book and McNally was happy to oblige (Pictured above).
It made me wonder, when was the last time a teenager held a hard bound book?

It’s just crazy how people are fixated on their cell phones.  While waiting in a parking lot I observed nine people walk from a mall to their cars.  All nine with their heads down.  9-0.  Several snapped their heads up when they realized they were walking into the path of a moving car.  It made me sad to think that people feel so compelled to stay “connected” and can’t just enjoy a 300-yard walk on a warm, sunny spring day to their cars.  Perhaps all nine had urgent business to tend to but I doubt it.
I don’t have a dog in the hunt (my dawg, the Butler Bulldogs did make it to the Sweet 16 but MTSU fans already know that) but I’m pulling for South Carolina in the Final Four.  I heard Head Coach Frank Martin during a radio interview and he refreshingly honest about his career path to Columbia.  Not always pretty.  His quote to the left has gone viral.  Strong stuff.

How do the Nashville Predators do it?  That’s a rhetorical question because the NHL franchise’s success to fill a big building is well documented.  I took in last night’s game with a dear friend and I just marveled that the place was filled to the rafters on a Thursday night in March.  This friend and I had season tickets next to each other the inaugural season (1997-98).  As luck would have it, we were blessed to have Sheila Crisp (wife of Predators broadcaster Terry Crisp) sitting next to us.  What a hoot.  My buddy is a transplanted Ranger fan and I felt a civic duty to buy season tickets.  Never in my wildest dreams did I think the NHL would stick in Nashville for 20 years.  Ten years ago, we all know how perilously close the team was to moving to southern Ontario.  (Where have you gone  Jim Balsillie?  Second thought, who cares.)  Privately, some Predators officials were gnashing their teeth (get it? Gnash-ing) over the Titans honeymoon and were perplexed why the hockey team didn’t get equal love.  My response was, “Until they put laces on a puck, this is football country.”  That was then.  This is now.  Now, the Predators organic relationship with their fans is the envy of many NHL cities.  I couldn’t have been more wrong and glad to admit it.  Take a bow Predators.

Have a great and safe weekend.

By |2017-03-31T16:12:42+00:00March 31st, 2017|Professional Relationships, Random Thoughts|Comments Off on JTG Day, People Watching, Final Four and Preds

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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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.