Remembering Vice President Walter Mondale – JAG’s Founding Board Member and the First Investor

The Pete du Pont Freedom Foundation recognizes the important work of former Vice President Walter Mondale, who passed away on April 19, 2021 at the age of 93. 

Mondale was the first investor in, and a founding board member of Jobs for America’s Graduates (JAG), which was formed in 1980. The program was based on the early success of Jobs for Delaware Graduates, formed under Governor Pete du Pont as an employment counseling and job placement program for high school seniors not bound for college.

Pete, a Republican, and Mondale, a Democrat, worked together in bipartisanship to make Jobs for America’s Graduates possible. As Ken Smith, President of Jobs for America’s Graduates, recently reflected on Mondale’s original phone call to Pete: The Vice President was funny and energetic when he kicked off the call with this quote: “Pete, I am not in the business of helping Republican Governors – but in this case we believe you really do have something very special.”

With the investment of the Carter-Mondale team and based on the success in Delaware, the JAG program was launched in four other states; ultimately achieving he same kind of early success as the Jobs for Delaware Graduates had.  Today, 40 years later, Jobs for America’s Graduates operates in 1,450 locations in 40 states and has served more than 1.5 million young people.

JAG helps young people of truly great promise succeed both in school and on-the-job, leading to a productive and rewarding career. The JAG Model consists of a comprehensive set of services designed to keep young people in school through graduation and improves their success rates in education and career.

The featured photo is from the JAG grant-signing event in the White House Rose Garden, with Governor du Pont, Vice President Mondale, and Ernie Green, then Assistant Secretary for Employment and Training.