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Wellmark Foundation supports Iowa Jobs for America's Graduates

April 8, 2022

Des Moines, Ia — With support from The Wellmark Foundation, high school students from across the state were provided an opportunity to learn more about careers in high-demand fields\ like health care. More than 400 students from 33 Iowa schools participated in the Iowa Jobs for America’s Graduates (iJAG) 2022 Career Development Conference presented by The Wellmark Foundation on April 7 at the Iowa Events Center.

Students met with experts in various career fields, including health care, finance, energy, retail, utilities and more. They also had the opportunity to participate in hands-on demonstrations. In addition, the students could compete at a statewide level in areas of employability, financial literacy, prepared speaking, project-based learning and more. Those who scored well qualified to compete at the JAG-National Career Development Conference in May in Dallas, Texas. See the results here.

“We are proud to support iJAG by investing in programming that can increase graduation rates for young people of great promise and expose them to high-demand health care occupations,” said Mary Lawyer, The Wellmark Foundation executive director. “Working to improve access to education and career pathways within our communities through programs like iJAG, can have positive outcomes on the overall health and quality of life for those involved.”

The Wellmark Foundation awarded Iowa Jobs for America’s Graduates (iJAG) $25,000 to assist with this conference and their previous leadership development conference held last fall.

“iJAG helps students step into their purpose and passion and helps those who want to get into a different place in life,” said Laurie Phelan, iJAG president & CEO. “Support from organizations like The Wellmark Foundation makes all the difference to these young people. It also shows them organizations want to help them be successful now and later when they’re deciding on a career.”

In addition to attending conferences, iJAG students collaborate on projects, hold leadership roles within the program, complete class assignments and participate in several community engagement activities focusing on career development, job attainment, job retention, basic and personal skills, and leadership and self-development.

Jobs for America’s Graduates is led by a public/private partnership at the national level, comprised of leading governors, c-suite executives among the Fortune 500 and national community leaders. It is organized to support state affiliates in the high-impact delivery of the JAG Model across middle school, high school, out-of-school and collegiate young adult populations. To learn more about iJAG visit

Since its inception in 1991, The Wellmark Foundation has awarded nearly $58 million in grant and project funding to initiatives that positively impact the well-being of Iowans and South Dakotans. To learn more about The Wellmark Foundation visit