SOUTH BEND — Child poverty in Indiana is increasing, with one in five Indiana kids living below the poverty line. A state workforce development program is trying to break that cycle.
Juniors and seniors from four South Bend high schools and three Elkhart schools are part of the Jobs for America's Graduates program. In the last four years, the program has helped 2700 low-income Hoosier students who were at risk of dropping out.
The class helps students find the motivation to graduate and the skills to be successful in life.
Najwa Smith is one of about 40 Riley High School students participating in JAG.
“JAG has just really helped me out in so many ways for so many situations in my life,” Smith said.
She said the class is tough. Students practice interviewing skills, research occupations, build a resume, and learn how to present themselves well.
“It basically helps us be leaders. Mr. [Larry] King, our specialist, tries everyday to get us in that practice of being a leader,” Smith said.