Around 500 public high school students attended the annual Jobs for Alabama's Graduates Career Development Conference, or JAG for short, today at the Prattville Marriott.
Part of the goal of the JAG program is to prevent high school drop outs, while helping the students polish their interview and public speaking skills.
It was a chance for some students to confront challenges.
"I'm hard worker, but I want to improve my work habits," said Keionte Perdue, a Lee High School student.
JAG also presented an opportunity for people like Stacy Suits to face her fears.
"I want to work on public speaking, and not get so nervous," Suits said.
The JAG program is in 24 public school districts across the state. It's designed to help students who've had to overcome some barriers early in life.
"I'm in foster care so that was a barrier," Suits said.
Consequently, Stacy has had to work a little harder in school. That's part of the reason why Stacy is catching up on life skills such as public speaking, employment interviews and essay writing.
Speaker after speaker told the teens what it means to work hard, and how that hard work at some point will pay off. Dr. Phillip Cleveland says the evidence is clear the JAG program is doing its part to improve Alabama's graduation rate.
The JAG program was started 24 years ago.
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