Partner Profile: Jobs for Maine’s Graduates
Mission: JMG partners with Maine’s public middle and high schools, community colleges and university system to help students reach their fullest potential. JMG serves more than 6,500 students in communities throughout all of Maine’s 16 counties. JMG increases high school graduation rates, college retention and degree attainment. It prepares students for successful careers after graduation by helping them overcome academic, financial and social barriers. It empowers Maine students and models Maine’s next generation of young leaders, providing them with a toolbox of skills, knowledge and best practices that they can use throughout their lives to achieve self-sufficiency, pursue their aspirations and attain success.
How does Unum support JMG? “Over the past 12 years, Unum employees have donated hundreds of hours to help students, who face barriers to education, to stay in school and become better prepared for post-secondary education and the workforce,” said Lisa Gardner, director of stewardship at JMG. “Unum’s executives have shared their expertise and experiences to help improve JMG’s programs and to strengthen our board and since 2004, JMG has been fortunate enough to have received a total of $1,000,000 in unrestricted general operating funds.”
Unum and JMG share the belief that not all students thrive in the traditional school setting, stated Gardner. In an effort to give students in Maine the opportunity to get out of the classroom and practice leadership and career skills, Unum developed an annual event called Urban Adventure. Aptly nicknamed “The Largest Corporate Slumber Party”, Urban Adventure invites 150 disadvantaged youth from across the state to take over Unum’s Portland headquarters, for two days. Unum executives and 30-40 staff host workshops and activities focused on career skills, community service, and civic engagement.
What impact has it had on JMG? Every year, Unum invites a group of JMG students from the greater Portland area to come to the corporate headquarters and lead the executive team, including the Chief Operating Officer, in a variety of leadership training activities. One JMG student said, “It gave me the chance to present to a group, and to practice relating to adults. How many young people get to do something like that with corporate vice presidents?”
“In 2004, Unum awarded its first grant to JMG for $10,000,” Gardner said. “As the relationship grew, Unum continued to support our programs and empower our organization, by providing several substantial grants, all of which have been for unrestricted, general operating costs.” Since that first award, JMG has more than doubled the number of disadvantaged students we serve, from 2,545 to 6,500, Gardner stated.
Why does Unum support JMG? “JMG is an organization that is student centered and results driven, and it offers solutions to students to ensure they graduate from high school and attain higher education that will help them pursue meaningful careers,” said Cary OlsonCartwright, assistant vice president for Corporate Social Responsibility at Unum. “This aligns nicely with our focus to help provide opportunities to help students be successful.”