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iJAG CEO to step down


Laurie Phelan, who launched the nonprofit Iowa Jobs for America’s Graduates in 1999, will step down as leader of the organization, but she will remain active in mentoring the new leader and assisting with iJAG’s strategic development for two years. iJAG is tentatively planning to hire the next leader by the end of 2022. According to a news release, iJAG is one of 40 affiliates of Job’s for America’s Graduates, a state-based national nonprofit created to help young people with personal and professional development and help them navigate barriers such as poverty, academic challenges and trauma. iJAG programs partner with schools and businesses and incorporate project-based learning, trauma-informed care and employer engagement. iJAG has grown from six programs when it began to 151 available in the 2022-23 year. The organization has served more than 135,000 students and had a 95% average graduation rate, the release said. “In 1999 when I was asked to create a nonprofit organization, which I called Iowa Jobs for America’s Graduates, I had no idea that I’d be leading this work for 24 years. … The more I told the story about iJAG the more people believed and wanted to be a part of it. And then it began to grow and tap into resources that allowed staff to really make dreams come true. The biggest of which is that every student knows they are valued, loved, and essential to the world,” Phelan said in a prepared statement. West Des Moines-based Palmer Group has been selected to determine potential candidates. The job description is available on Palmer Group’s website.

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