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4 Types of CSR Programs for Employers to Consider

iJAG CSR Programs

November 15, 2023

Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is not slowing down anytime soon. In fact, it’s projected that 94% of companies will increase or maintain their giving programs over the next few years (Source).

If your organization is following this trend, there are ways that both you, the employee, and they, the organization, can play a role in maximizing partnership effectiveness.

Emphasis on the Employer

Four types of CSR programs often guide partnership decisions. If you find a CSR partner who can touch on at least two, I will say that’s part of the criteria for a smart partnership. It’s rare for a CSR partner to align to all four, but I’m here to tell you one (in Iowa!) that does. #jackpot

Iowa Jobs for America’s Graduates (iJAG) is a statewide nonprofit that bridges education and the workplace; partnering with more than 100 Iowa school districts to deliver leadership training, career education, individualized guidance and employer services to more than 7,200 youth with the support of more than 2,400 employer engagement partners.

1. Philanthropic

We all know philanthropy provides immediate benefit to our communities, but do your CSR partners change the lifelong trajectory of communities and multiple stakeholders?

Youth: iJAG specializes in serving youth who experience barriers to graduation, employment and success to unlock the potential of every student. With stakeholder involvement, youth increase understanding of self, purpose and direction, perform better academically and improve mental health. Students graduate with solidified plans for the future, supportive relationships and skills that ignite positive outcomes that span a lifetime. In fact, 90% of iJAG alumni have no dependency on public assistance, manage sustainable wages and do not encounter criminal behavior.

Schools: The impact of iJAG on youth has a synergistic effect on school districts and the landscape of education in Iowa. Additionally, administrators see improvements in attendance, classroom engagement and participation in school and the community — all of which are proven to close gaps on benchmarks, competencies and future readiness.

While increased graduation rates is what iJAG is known for (7% higher than that of non-iJAG students), there is added concentration on transition services for a minimum of 12 months after graduation.

2. Economic

Naturally, investing in nonprofits drive a spike in economic productivity — but, all workplace stakeholders also benefit from iJAG. iJAG is also helping lead the Drive to Jobs, a force that generates Iowa’s long-term prosperity.

Organizations: Aligning to employee engagement programs, supporting initiatives related to inclusivity, collaborating on fundraising endeavors and/or providing volunteer opportunities are just a few ways iJAG meets organizational goals. All are proven solutions to increase employee productivity, satisfaction and retention.

Just one career exploration activity with students naturally manifests a talent pipeline. Imagine what multiple can do over the course of several years. iJAG prides itself on bringing local talent to employer doorsteps.

Economies: As any business class will teach you, thriving workplaces drive thriving economies. The iJAG Drive to Jobs features an intentional focus on workforce development across all industry sectors – including STEM, Skilled Trades, Financial Services, Agriculture, Manufacturing and Healthcare.


3. Environmental

While the connection between environmental practices, sustainability and iJAG is more indirect than direct, the fuse is still there.

With the help of employer partners, iJAG builds the industry pipeline of do-ers who discover, develop or implement the products and services that protect, enhance and better our environments. Investing in our future today allows us to shape what it becomes.

4. Ethical

Again, the connection to iJAG may not be clear but when you uncover more about this statewide nonprofit, you’ll learn they have a Private/Public funding model with bipartisan support from legislators due to its critical role in education. Relationships with iJAG can create opportunity for its employer partners to take a seat at the table with state representatives during events, civic outings, fundraisers and more.

Start a conversation with Iowa Jobs for America’s Graduates.

Looking for tools to help grow your startup or small business? Visit the Small Business Resources Hub to find the information you need, including connections through a Resource Compass and Business Counseling through the Greater Des Moines Partnership’s network.

Dr. Wendy Mihm Herold

Dr. Wendy Mihm Herold is President & CEO for Iowa Jobs for America's Graduates (iJAG) where she creates, develops and implements iJAG’s strategic growth strategy that focuses on every student. She has previously worked for Northeast Iowa Community College and Iowa Workforce Development.