American Graduate Day 2017

(Rochester, NY) – Broadcast live from Tisch WNET Studios in NYC, the 6th annual American Graduate Day airs Saturday, October 14, 2017 from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. on WXXI-TV. The four-hour special will examine the vital role mentorship plays through high school, and will explore diverse pathways to career success and workforce development opportunities.

Since 2012, the American Graduate Day broadcast has focused on telling stories, creating resources and building community connections to successfully move students from early education through high school graduation. With the graduation rate now at an all-time high, American Graduate Day is expanding the conversation and stories beyond the high school diploma, highlighting workforce trends, career pathways and job opportunities, and the necessary skills to meet industry needs in every community across America.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that there are 6.2 million open jobs in critical, high-demand fields due in large part to an imbalance between workers’ skills and open jobs. National business organizations such as the Business Roundtable, National Association of Manufacturers, U.S. Chamber of Commerce and JPMorgan Chase & Co. have noted that the United States is experiencing a workforce skills gap that is holding our economy back and threatening our economic future.

“American Graduate Day affirms public media’s commitment to lifelong learning, beginning with our youngest citizens, getting them ready to learn, and putting them on a path to a high school diploma and career success,” said Patricia Harrison, President and CEO of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. “Communities across the country are facing profound education and workforce challenges and this WNET production will examine ways partners can and are making a difference.”

For the first time, American Graduate Day will examine post-secondary pathways to career success, spotlighting the individuals, organizations and community partnerships that equip young people with the skills and resources to enter the workforce from multiple pathways – ranging from traditional universities to job training and certification programs, the military and apprenticeship programs. Hosted by Soledad O’Brien, American Graduate Day will feature leading education, business, media and celebrity figures who will share inspirational stories from across the nation and encourage others to connect with students as a mentor as they look beyond the diploma and explore post-high school options.

Celebrity guests along with more than 30 nonprofit, corporate and philanthropic organizations across the country will be featured as partners for American Graduate Day, with guests including General and Mrs. Colin Powell, John Legend, Misty Copeland, Phil Mickelson, Daymond John, Marcus Samuelsson and Jane Pauley.

Like last year, nonprofit organization MENTOR will help connect adults with students in need through their Mentoring Connector database, which will be promoted on, by partner organizations and on air. Those who are interested in becoming a mentor and connecting with local organizations and youth can explore MENTOR’s Mentoring Connector database on

Viewers can join the conversation online at and on social media using the #AmGrad hashtag or by following American Graduate on Twitter and Facebook.

American Grad Day host Soledad O’Brien



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