In Their Own Words: Marissa Tanner, 2018 JTG Graduate

Guest Writer: Marissa Tanner, Creek Wood High School

This summer, we are featuring stories by 2018 JTG graduates and offering them a chance to share the impact JTG has had on their lives.

“Given a support system such as JTG, young men and women at risk of graduating high school will soon contribute to society, not take from it. Now that’s a sound investment”, according to John Dwyer, president and CEO of Jobs for Tennessee Graduates (JTG). This program is an affiliate of Jobs for America’s Graduates (JAG), which is a nonprofit organization, dedicated to stewarding at-risk high school students toward graduation with follow-through toward post-secondary education and/or career opportunities. JTG programs achieved a 98 percent graduation rate in 2015. JTG specialists teach the JAG model during a student’s senior year, and then add a 12-month mentoring process to ensure success after high school.

My JTG class helped me in many different ways throughout the year, from bringing guest speakers to class, to doing projects about our dream job, to helping me figure out Financial Aid and TN Promise. JTG offers the opportunity to see real-world scenarios on the job and at college through field trips and mock interviews. Moreover, I could not be any happier to have taken this class; it was phenomenal to see past graduates at the colleges or jobs they chose, and how they are doing very well at them. JTG will continue to help their students for the next year after they graduate high school, which is a huge plus. Helping them make that transition is so important and if anything, that is what is most important to me.

JTG has influenced me to be even more passionate about my dream job after high school. I have completed all the research and even spoken with a person who just graduated college for the same career I want to pursue. JTG has supported me in my career choice as well as making me realize why I desire to become a mortician.

After I graduate I plan to work at my job at NHC Dickson as much as possible and get ready for college and orientation for Nashville State in June. Additionally, I plan to prepare myself mentally and physically before I go back to school to start my new life as college student. I am also glad to know Mrs. Orman will be available to answer any of my questions for that following year as I make the transition from high school to the real world.

In brief, I believe JTG is a very important class and every senior needs it. Schools do not have enough of these programs that focus solely on helping students go from school to college or school to the workforce. It has helped me realize my dream job is definitely what I want to do and has encouraged me to make good changes within my mindset on what I am capable of doing. Many of our students’ parents do not know how to help them, and this is an easy fix for that. This program, JTG, is a nonprofit organization dedicated to stewarding at-risk high school students toward graduation with follow-through toward post-secondary education and/or career opportunities.





By |2018-05-29T16:05:49+00:00May 29th, 2018|Academics, College, In Their Own Words|Comments Off on In Their Own Words: Marissa Tanner, 2018 JTG Graduate

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.