Typically when I attend a ribbon cutting, it is for a building, celebrating the construction of a beautiful new space.  Today as I attended the high school graduation of JVS’s Adult Diploma students, I felt like I was cutting the ribbon on a new pipeline; a pipeline for education, career development and talent production.  This pipeline provides opportunities for motivated students to enter at appropriate points depending on their education and skills, and move on to appropriate next steps.  Building this pipeline was not an easy task.  Funding for the elements of the pipeline are highly fragmented and siloed, and their narrow rules (which too often don’t reflect the real needs of students) require constant workarounds, and alternative funding to fill in the gaps.

But build it we did.

Nine adult students graduated with real high school diplomas from the Boston Public Schools.  All of these students work, most have families, and all have been out of school for a long time.  Several of the students came directly from JVS English language and English for Employment classes.  Several graduates have already secured better jobs because of their diploma.  One student could not attend the graduation, as she recently started her new job as a pharmacy technician after graduating from our pharm tech training program, which requires a high school diploma.  Several students are entering our Bridges to College program, where they will be earning college credit through co-enrollment with Bunker Hill Community College.

As the alumni speaker, Moses Kabwe, a college student in Bridges already, told the graduates, “Don’t stop, don’t ever stop.  You can do this too, if you believe in yourself.”

Marleine Etienne, the graduate speaker, who started in a JVS English language class several years ago, proudly held her diploma and told the audience,

“JVS changed my life and my future.”

This new pipeline started as a trickle, is now a stream, and in time will be a torrent of talent and success.

Jerry Rubin is the President and CEO of JVS Boston. Learn more about Jerry and JVS’s Leadership team on our website.