Thomas College has been a proud partner of the Jobs for Maine’s Graduates (JMG) program, a nonprofit that helps students transition from middle and high school to post-secondary education and careers. Thanks to the generous support of the Harold Alfond Foundation, this productive partnership continues. JMG’s President and CEO, Craig Larrabee, spoke to us about the nonprofit’s work and impact.
Q: Tell us how JMG works and why it fits at Thomas.
A: JMG and Thomas share a student-centered culture and a commitment to seizing innovative approaches to stay relevant and ensure students reach their fullest potential. When Thomas and JMG began talking about bringing the JMG program onto campus in 2012, it was the first time a program like ours was extended to offer students a continuum of support from middle school through high school and into post-secondary and career pathways. The range of services that JMG college success specialists provide to their students – from developing job skills to navigating mental health services – is critical to college perseverance and success, especially now. The integration of the JMG model at Thomas and the capacity to successfully bridge students from high school into college is unique from other support services.
Q: Can you share any success stories about JMG graduates?
A: The JMG College Success program at Thomas College is entering its sixth year, and we see students graduating with their undergraduate degrees from Thomas and continuing to pursue graduate degrees. We just created a video to celebrate the success stories of several of the students enrolled in the JMG College Success program at Thomas. The video can be found at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dJF0d-xim6M.
Q: What does the Harold Alfond Foundation’s investment in JMG through this Campaign mean to the organization and its work at Thomas?
A: The $13.5 million grant to Thomas College is a transformational investment, and we are thrilled it includes funding to continue supporting the JMG College Success program at Thomas and significantly expands scholarship opportunities for our students. The Harold Alfond Foundation has been a cornerstone funder of the College Success program and the JMG and Thomas College partnership since its inception. This fall, despite the challenges of COVID-19, 35 new JMG high school graduates enrolled at Thomas, the highest number since the program launched in the Fall of 2014. Our enrollment numbers and our persistence rates will grow stronger because this investment will offer students the scholarship funding to help them afford four years of college. Very few private scholarships support students for all four years, and the College’s leadership has the vision and the commitment to make this happen. The Harold Alfond Foundation grant will remove this barrier faced by so many JMG students.
*This story was originally published in the Fall 2020 Thomas Magazine & Annual Report.