JAG Students Explore Careers at the Capitol

JAG | Wisconsin's Capitol

Jobs for America’s Graduates (JAG) prepare high school students for career paths after graduation.

  • JAG Career specialists in select schools throughout Wisconsin connect students with hands-on career exploration opportunities.

Consider this: Over 95% of JAG students graduate and have a 79% job placement-rate.

On October 31, four schools participating in the JAG program coordinated a student field trip to the State Capitol in Madison, WI. Students met on the steps of the Capitol exterior to mingle before heading into the Rotunda for a 360 degree view of governmental history.

  • 59 from South Division—Milwaukee, Tomah, Stanley-Boyd, and Prairie Phoenix Academy in Sun Prairie attended.
JAG Students at Capitol Rotunda

Students met in the Rotunda for an official tour of the Capitol.


At 10AM, the class from South Division had a meet-and-greet with Sylvia Oritz-Velez, their State Assembly Representative (District 8).

  • Sylvia Oritz-Velez connected with students about her journey to the becoming a representative.
  • She discussed the work she has done in the Assembly with her fellow representatives to improve the lives of the people in her district and across the state of Wisconsin.
JAG students meet with Sylvia Oritz-Velez

South Division-Milwaukee JAG students meet with State Assembly Representative (District 8), Sylvia Oritz-Velez.


Students reconvened in the Rotunda to begin a tour of the Capitol from an official guide. It spanned all three stories through rooms like the Supreme Court, Governor’s Conference Room, the North Hearing Room, and the Assembly Chamber.

  • The JAG Team Lead, Sarah Waltz, says, When our JAG students participate in field trips, they are given the opportunity to learn about different career paths which helps them better plan and prepare for their own future and achieve their dreams.”

Students learned about the history of local government from the intersection between American government and indigenous tribes to why the state’s animal is the badger and how the city of Madison got its name, (hint: the fourth president of the United States).

The tour ended on the Observation Deck where students were treated to a spectacular 360-degree view of the city.

It was here that Representative of District 68, Jesse James, met with the Stanley-Boyd class to pick up the tour for a very special look at areas of the Capitol not usually accessible to the public.

  • Students were given gated access to the interior of the dome where they got a close-up view of the “Resources of Wisconsin” mural.
  • They were then led to the Lantern Balcony atop the dome with a 236-foot lookout over the city with sweeping views of Lake Mendota, Lake Monona, and all of the Madison neighborhoods surrounding the Capitol.
JAG students meet with Rep. Jessie James in his office

JAG students meet with Rep. Jessie James in his office.


Following the dizzying heights, Rep. Jesse James invited the class back to his office for snacks. He showed them what a legislative bill looks like and answered their questions.

At the end of the day, students found their way back to their busses for a long trip back to their hometowns with a newfound appreciation for government and the potential career opportunities in local politics. Perhaps one of them might be the next representative of your local district!