JOBS for AMERICA'S GRADUATES

ACT Foundation Announces Six New Members of Advisory Council for Working Learners

Sage Zephier of Wagner, S.D., a 2013 graduate of Wagner Community School and pilot member of South Dakota’s first Jobs for America’s Graduates (JAG) class, has been named as one of six new members to the new national Working Learner Advisory Council. The ACT Foundation released the names of the six newest members to its 18-person board Sept. 8.

“I was very surprised and excited that I was chosen as a member of the Working Learner Advisory Council because there are a lot of talented individuals who apply,” Zephier says. “I look forward to our meetings to learn more about the board’s plan, and I hope I can contribute to board progress.”

Zephier served as the student speaker at the JAG National Student Leadership Conference in Washington, D.C. in 2012. He was a two-time JAG Wagner President and spoke on behalf of JAG at various national and state functions.

“Representing diverse economic, ethnic, education, and work backgrounds from across the nation, the council now consists of 18 working learners aged 19 to 29 who were nominated by colleagues and associates for their hard work, leadership, and commitment to personal and professional development,” according to a news release from the ACT Foundation.  Nominees then completed an application process. “These advisors provide ACT Foundation with valuable insight into the lives of today’s working learners and serve as a direct voice for working learners in the development of real-world solutions that meet their needs.”

The goal of the Working Leader Advisory Council is to help address the needs and challenge of working learners across the country. Working learners are described as individuals “who are engaged in some type of employment while also learning new skills in the pursuit of greater economic freedom and overall life satisfaction. Working learners are a significant and fast-growing portion of the American workforce and are key drivers of an emerging national learning economy.”

Zephier is currently a full-time student at South Dakota State University in Brookings, S.D., and works part-time as a member of the South Dakota Army National Guard.

“The advisory council has been a tremendous resource for ACT Foundation’s work,” said Parminder K. Jassal, founding executive director of ACT Foundation. “We welcome these new members who bring a wealth of knowledge and experience to the council and will provide new and unique perspectives on the lives of working learners.”

While at Wagner High School, some of Zephier’s accomplishments included: pilot member of the Jobs for America’s Graduates (JAG) program; deliver student keynote speech at the JAG National Student Leadership Convention in 2012; keynote speaker at the National Indian Impacted School Association Conference in Las Vegas, NV in 2011; student representative to the WCS Native American Education Committee;  keynote speaker at the 2012 South Dakota Indian Education Summit; WCS JAG President during both junior and senior years; one of 30 students selected nationwide to be part of The Summer University Program of The Indian University of North America at the Crazy Horse Memorial; Upward Bound member; WCS homecoming king; instrumental in getting the Yankton Sioux Tribe’s flag placed in the museum of the American Indian in Washington, D.C.; three-sport varsity letter-winner (football, wrestling and track) and state-qualifying athlete in track and wrestling; and 2010 delegate to the JAG National Student Leadership Convention.

The Working Learner Advisory Council meets monthly to address topics such as learning opportunities for low-income workers, life satisfaction and outcomes, the role of technology innovation in their lives, and other investment work currently underway at ACT Foundation, which is detailed in ACT Foundation’s visionfor a National Learning Economy. Members are also engaged in digital storytelling projects designed to bring working learners to life and better inform the design of innovative solutions that support working learners everywhere.

Zephier’s first meeting with the council will be held in Austin, Texas, at the end of September.

In addition to Zephier, new members of the 2014 Working Learner Advisory Council include:

Josephine Villanueva (San Jose, CA)
David Payne (Pittsburgh, PA)
Christopher Casanovas (Coral Springs, FL)
Thierry Pierre-Charles (Amherst, MA)
Landon Taylor (Oakland, CA)

Current Members of the 2014 Working Learner Advisory Council

Nicholas D’Antonio (Washington, DC)
Anthony Davis (Roseburg, OR)
Nick Gerber (Worcester, MA)
Yadira Gurrola (Chadron, NE)
Alan Jimenez (Bucyrus, OH)
Morgan Lamborn (Gainesville, FL)
Noreen Lopez (Las Cruces, NM)
Jennifer Quaye (New Haven, CT)
David Rivera (Lubbock, TX)
Krista Scott (Gainesville, FL)
Jody Stroble (Claremore, OK)
Crystal Wallace (Raleigh, NC)

“The goal of ACT Foundation is to reach across organizational boundaries, sectors, and the nation, to fund and develop strategic approaches to support working learners in their individual journeys toward successful careers and lives. Based in Austin, Texas, ACT Foundation is a private, independent organization, endowed by ACT, a nonprofit public trust committed to helping people achieve educational and workplace success.” For more information about the ACT Foundation, actfdn.org.