Graciela Garcia Candia Retires as Jobs For Arizona’s Graduates President, CEO

After a 41-year-long tenure at Jobs for Arizona’s Graduates (JAG), Graciela Garcia Candia has announced her retirement as long-time president and CEO.

Candia first joined the organization in 1982 as the program coordinator at Tolleson Union High School. There, she received numerous local and national awards and, in 1999, was promoted to program manager to provide support to other coordinators throughout the state. She was named president in 2003 due to her proven leadership and, most of all, her commitment to Arizona students.

“From her very first day working directly with students as a job specialist, then as a highly effective supervisor, and for the last 19 years as president of Jobs for Arizona’s Graduates, she has made the lives and futures of young people so much better,” said Kenneth Smith, president and CEO of Jobs for America’s Graduates, who has worked with Candia for more than four decades. 

As JAG president and CEO, Candia secured more than a million dollars in new financial support, developed new partnerships to expand programming and deepened relationships with state and local government, businesses and education leaders.

“If you wish to see the monuments to her legacy, you have only to look around you and see the success of thousands of young Arizonans who have a better life and are leaders in their communities and fully committed citizens of Arizona as a result of her leadership,” said Smith.

JAG focuses on developing career pathways for youth, emphasizing post-secondary education, employment readiness and life-skills training. Since 1980, the organization has served more than 40,000 students and consistently exceeds the national standards. The program has also received the prestigious “Five for Five” Award every year since Candia’s appointment as president.

Candia will continue to serve as president through June 2023 to provide a smooth transition for the new CEO once the appointment is made.

“I am honored to have had the opportunity to work with an extraordinary group of talented and dedicated staff and board of directors,” Candia said. “We’re poised for success through this upcoming transition.”

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