Students interact with legislators, receive Kansas Statehouse tours
JAG-K State Career Association (SCA) Officers and JAG-K Staff.
Back row from left: SCA Vice President Tyrese DeLaCruz, Chuck Knapp, President/CEO, Bev Mortimer, Vice President Program Development. Front row, from left: SCA President Linda Moyo of Newton High School; Governor Jeff Colyer, SCA Secretary Antonio Cooper, Junction City High School. (JAG-K Staff Photo)
TOPEKA – More than 225 Kansas high school students representing Jobs for America’s Graduates-Kansas (JAG-K) programs recently traveled to Topeka to visit the Kansas Statehouse. Students had the opportunity to meet and interact with legislators and receive Capitol tours.
“We wanted to come to the Capitol and get tours, but we also wanted to come and promote JAG-K and tell our legislators how good of a program it is in our school. I think that 100 percent of students could benefit from being in JAG-K,” said Megan Londeen, Southwest Regional JAG-K President.
JAG-K was recognized at 10 a.m. on the Kansas House of Representatives floor and at 2 p.m. on the Kansas Senate floor.
JAG-K is a multi-year program for students in grades seven through 12, that offers tools to successfully transition students into post-secondary school, the military, or directly into the workforce with marketable skills. Participants in the program face multiple barriers to success. Kansas adopted the program in 2013.
JAG-K is one of the most successful JAG startups in the country. In 2016, JAG-K students reached a 93 percent graduation rate, thanks to the supports and services offered by JAG-K Career specialists. The JAG-K Class of 2017 already has achieved a 97 percent graduation rate.
JAG-K is primarily funded through Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) dollars, through the Kansas Department for Children and Families (DCF). Funds are available through an annual federal block grant.
“JAG-K is one of many poverty-prevention programs that DCF funds, helping numerous Kansas youth achieve a brighter future,” said Secretary Gina Meier-Hummel. “This is a wonderful program, and I am so excited that these students had the opportunity to come to our State Capitol and see the legislative process firsthand.”
“Education is so fundamentally important to the success of Kansas children,” said Governor Jeff Colyer. “JAG-K is equipping Kansas students with the right tools to have a successful, prosperous future.”
JAG-K is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization and an affiliate of the national JAG program that operates in 32 states. In addition to school districts and DCF, JAG-K partners with the Kansas State Department of Education. Other JAG-K funding sources include the Aetna Foundation, Amerigroup Foundation, AT&T, and John Deere Coffeyville Works.
To learn more about JAG-K visit, www.jagkansas.org. To learn more about poverty prevention programs funded by DCF visit, www.dcf.ks.gov.
More than 100 JAG-K students and their Career Specialists from Wichita and Augusta attended JAG-K Day at Wichita State University Tech (WSU Tech) to learn about the degree and certificate programs offered. Students received a guided tour of the campus and participated in hands-on projects in the Future Maker Mobile Lab. WSU Tech staff shared opportunities available to students in the manufacturing industry and how pursuing a technical degree could prepare them for a successful and prosperous future.
Christy Pray, JAG-K Career Specialist at Augusta High School, was thrilled that her students were able to participate in the event. "I learned so much today at WSU Tech and my students thoroughly enjoyed themselves," said Christy. "The WSU Tech staff were great and the campus tour was eye opening for my students." Pray said.
TECUMSEH, Kan. (KSNT) — Jobs for America’s Graduates Kansas, also known as JAG-K, is working to prepare students for successful futures by helping them graduate high school and teaching career and life skills.
The program is funded through the Kansas Department for Children and Families. DCF allocates more than $4 million in federal Temporary Assistance for Needy Families to fund program.
JAG-K President and CEO Chuck Knapp said DCF sees the program as an investment.
“If we can keep a student out of poverty or get them out of poverty, we know their chances of a successful career (and) a successful life go up dramatically,” said Knapp.
JAG-K is in 68 schools across Kansas with more than 3000 students enrolled.
In order to qualify for the class, students have to have at least five barriers to success.
“It could be an economic barrier, but also academic (or) environmental,” said Knapp. “We have students who can perform at a high level academically, but they’re just not because something has happened in the home, so we take a broader approach to the definition of at-risk.”
The classes are led by “career specialists” who work with students throughout the year.
Students spend time learning leadership, job interview skills and even how to write a resume.
Jason Robbs, a career specialist at Shawnee Heights High School, said getting students to graduation can first mean tackling the smaller things.
“If we can get them to start showing up to school, if we can get them to start going to class on time… they start to take more accountability and ownership,” said Robbs.
Robbs said the accountability and ownership help to lead students to graduation and success after high school.
Program advocates say JAG-K is working. Knapp said one student from Concordia even told the Governor that the program saved his life.
“He was homeless, his mother was a drug addict,” Knapp said. “He got in the JAG-K program and he’s now serving our country as a member of the United States Army.”
Knapp said JAG-K will expand to 16 new schools next school year.
“We already have more schools wanting JAG-K than we have funding for,” said Knapp. “We’re trying to go to those areas where we can have the biggest impact, but we’ll continue to expand and look for ways to help students prepare for successful futures.”
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Students Tackle Graffiti in Washington Wheatly
A Project Based Learning module allowed students at Turner Middle School in Kansas City the opportunity to explore how art can influence and promote social justice. Two of the students chose to focus their art project on graffiti abatement and volunteered with Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC).
Follow the link to read the full story: www.lisc.org/kansas-city/regional-stories/students-tackle-graffiti-washington-wheatly/
Jason Mitchiner Jr., a senior at Topeka High School, earned second place in the national Math Skills competition at the 21st Annual JAG National Student Leadership Academy (NSLA) held in Washington D.C. on November 29-December 1, 2017.
The Math Skills competition is designed to encourage JAG students to improve their ability to identify, solve, and apply mathematical principles. The 50-question written exam had a 60-minute time limit and did not allow the use of a calculator.
Mitchiner became eligible to compete at NSLA by finishing first in the state of Kansas in the Math Skills competition at the statewide Jobs for America’s Graduates-Kansas (JAG-K) Leadership Development Conference in October. Jason participates in the JAG-K Program at Topeka High School where Teresa Leslie-Canty is the Career Specialist.
“It has been a joy to watch Jason grow and mature as a member of JAG-K. He is an excellent ambassador for Topeka High School and JAG-K, and I know someday he will be an excellent teacher,” said Chuck Knapp, President/CEO of JAG-K.
JAG-K is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization that that partners with 33 Kansas school districts to prepare students for successful futures. It is primarily funded with a federal grant administered by the Kansas Department for Children and Families. JAG-K, in its fifth year in Kansas, is an affiliate of the national JAG program that operates in 34 states.
Anyone interested in more information about JAG-K may visit the website www.jagkansas.org
TOPEKA – Gabe Gabriel Smith, a senior at Lawrence Free State High School, was presented a $1,000 Jim and Karen Koeninger Scholarship during the Jobs for America’s Graduates (JAG) Awards Luncheon at the National Student Leadership Academy (NSLA) in Washington, D.C. Gabe’s Smith’s application was based on a personal essay and resume and was selected as one of 11 scholarship winners from the 90 applications submitted by qualifying seniors from across the country. The Scholarship Committee shared they were moved and impressed with the caliber of the students who submitted applications.
The Jim and Karen Koeninger Scholarship Fund was established by the JAG National Board of Directors to recognize Executive Vice President, Dr. Jim Koeninger, and Corporate Vice President, Karen Koeninger for their extraordinary leadership and service to JAG.
Gabe Smith became eligible to compete at NSLA and apply for the scholarship by finishing in the top three in the state of Kansas in the Employability Skills competition at the statewide Jobs for America’s Graduates-Kansas (JAG-K) Leadership Development Conference in October.
“Gabe has been a leader in the Free State High School Career Association and at the state level of JAG-K. It has been a genuine pleasure getting to know him, and I look forward to watching him succeed as a distinguished JAG-K Alumnus,” said Chuck Knapp, President/CEO of JAG-K.
JAG-K is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization that that partners with 33 Kansas school districts to prepare students for successful futures. It is primarily funded with a federal grant administered by the Kansas Department for Children and Families. JAG-K, in its fifth year in Kansas, is an affiliate of the national JAG program that operates in 32 34 states. 37-year old program has assisted more than one million students nationwide. Lawrence Free State High School JAG-K program is led by Career Specialist Samantha Wilkerson.
Anyone interested in more information about JAG-K may visit the website www.jagkansas.org
Pictured: Jim & Karen Koeninger and Gabriel Smith (center)
Local students compete, participate in leadership workshops and tour the nation’s capital
TOPEKA –18 Jobs for America’s Graduates-Kansas (JAG-K) students attended the JAG National Student Leadership Academy. The students competed in skills competitions, attended leadership workshops and had the opportunity to tour familiar monuments and museums in the nation’s capital. The students earned a spot with the group by placing in the JAG-K state skills competition in October.
“The students represented JAG-K and Kansas well at the National Student Leadership Academy,” said Chuck Knapp, President/CEO of JAG-K. “I am not only proud of their accomplishment, I am pleased they understand the correlation between preparation, work and reward.”
Students earned the all-expense paid trip by finishing in the top three in one of four skills competitions at the JAG-K Leadership Development Conference held at the National Guard Training Center in Salina, KS in October. The skills competitions were: Employability Skills; Math Skills, Public Speaking and Project Based Learning. Three statewide JAG-K Career Association elected leaders also earned a position on the national team.
JAG-K is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization that is engaged in 33 Kansas school districts and serves more than 2,700 students. JAG-K is an affiliate of the national JAG program that operates in 32 states. The 37-year old program has assisted more than one million students nationwide.
In addition to school districts, JAG-K partners with the Kansas Department for Children and Families (DCF) and the Kansas State Department of Education. Funding for the program primarily comes from Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) dollars, administered by DCF. JAG-K also relies on private funds from contributors including AT&T, John Deere, Aetna Foundation, and Amerigroup Foundation.
Anyone interested in more information about JAG-K may visit the website at www.jagkansas.org.
Aetna executives judge competition and then present $25,000 grant at JAG-K Statewide Leadership Development Conference
Following a day of inspirational speeches by JAG-K students, Rick Mabe, Vice President of Community Development for Aetna, spoke to more than 200 students representing 68 JAG-K programs across Kansas and presented the organization a $25,000 grant award. The JAG-K students and their Career Specialists were gathered in Salina to participate in a two-day Leadership Development Conference (LDC), which featured student competitions and leadership elections.
“I was emotionally moved and inspired by your stories. I hope you will never forget where you came from, but keep setting goals and moving forward,” encouraged Mabe. “The Aetna Foundation is pleased to support JAG-K, and your wonderful Career Specialists, who are having an impact on students daily, and we want to explore additional ways to continue to help all JAG-K students reach your full potential.”
JAG-K President/CEO Chuck Knapp thanked Mabe and Scott Brunner, Medicaid/CHIP Policy Analyst at Aetna, who both served as judges for the Public Speaking competition on the first day of the LDC. Knapp said Aetna demonstrated a deep commitment to JAG-K students.
“Sometimes it’s easier to simply write a check than to get involved with our students,” said Knapp. “By volunteering, Aetna and their executives have shown they have a genuine interest in our students and the JAG-K mission.”
The LDC, which was held at the National Guard Regional Training Site in Salina, featured competitions in Employability Skills, Math Skills, Project Based Learning, and Public Speaking. The top three finishers in each of the competitions qualified for the JAG National Student Leadership Academy (NSLA) in Washington, D.C., November 29 – December 1. JAG-K State Career Association officers were elected at the LDC and will join the national qualifiers, for a total of 18 JAG-K students making the trip to our nation’s capital.
In addition to competing, students were provided facilities tours and experienced various simulators, attended workshops, and heard from Dr. Blake Flanders, President & CEO, Kansas Board of Regents, and inspirational speaker Matt Bennett.
Students compete for opportunity to advance to national competition in Washington, D.C.
More than 200 students representing 68 JAG-K programs traveled to Salina to participate in a two-day Leadership Development Conference. The conference featured competitions in Employability Skills, Math Skills, Project Based Learning, and Public Speaking.
Winners of the competitions, pictured below, will travel to Washington, D.C. to compete in the JAG National Student Leadership Academy (NSLA) in November.
Project Based Learning
1. Washington High School: Amiel Green, Tajanea Polk, Ja’Tai Matthews, Tyron Harris
2. Junction City Freshman Success Academy: Destiny Wilson, Sierra Garner
3. Augusta High School: Brandon Bond, Brittney Cairns
1. Cierra Wood – Great Bend High School
2. Meredith Queal – Pratt High School
3. Josie DeCoster – Turner High School
1. Jason Mitchiner Jr. – Topeka High School
2. Allen Roberts – Pratt High School
3. Jamie Aguirre – Wichita West High School
1. Tajanea Polk – Washington High School
2. Gabriel Smith – Lawrence Free State High School
3. Whitney Mayberry – Wichita North High School
2017-2018 State Career Association Officers were elected and will also travel to NSLA. Officers are President Linda Moyo of Newton High School; Vice President Tyrese DeLaCruz of Field Kindley High School; and Secretary Tyron Harris of Washington High School.
The conference was held at the National Guard Regional Training Site-Maintenance. Students were provided facilities tours and experienced simulators. In addition to competitions, students attended workshops and heard from Dr. Blake Flanders, President & CEO, Kansas Board of Regents and inspirational speaker Matt Bennett.
Greensburg, Kansas – (September 11, 2017) –Jobs for America’s Graduates-Kansas (JAG-K) students from Kiowa County, Pratt, Stafford, Great Bend, Holcomb, Liberal and Stafford High Schools attended a career information assembly thanks to a contribution from Amerigroup Kansas. The event was hosted at Kiowa County High School in Greensburg, Kansas.
“JAG-K is excited about our continued partnership with Amerigroup Kansas,” said Chuck Knapp, President/CEO of JAG-K. “Giving students an opportunity to hear directly from healthcare professionals is highly beneficial for their career exploration process.”
Keynote speakers included Frank Clepper, Jr., President of Amerigroup Kansas and Kansas Senator Bud Estes, who serves on the Kansas Senate Public Health and Welfare Committee. Both keynote speakers are on the JAG-K Board of Directors.
“Students face a variety of challenges that impact their ability to graduate and gain employment. One barrier is that students don’t have role models to introduce them to careers in healthcare that can inspire them to develop the necessary job skills to enter the workforce,” said Frank Clepper, Amerigroup Kansas president. “Through our partnership with JAG-K, Amerigroup Kansas will work to assist students interested in careers in healthcare to make connections with and receive guidance from healthcare professionals. We want to make sure they have plenty of information about health careers in Kansas.”
Students also heard from a panel comprised of an Amerigroup Kansas provider relations and long term services and supports representatives as well as a registered nurse and licensed clinical social worker from the Iroquois Center for Human Development.
In 2016, through its Foundation, Amerigroup supported the Improving Health Care Delivery by Targeting the Next Generation of Kansas into Needed Health Care Fields program that JAG-K led at Schlagle and Harmon High Schools in Kansas City.
JAG-K is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization that partners with students facing various barriers to success, helping them graduate high school and then on to a successful career path.