TOPEKA – Governor Sam Brownback was presented an honorary challenge coin from the Kansas branch of the Jobs for America’s Graduates (JAG) program on June 16, at the State Capitol Building, Topeka. He was also presented with letters of appreciation from participants in the program.
Jobs for America’s Graduates–Kansas (JAG-K) began in the state in 2013. It teaches job and work skills to at-risk middle and high school students and counsels them in career and work paths.
Matthew Fearing, President/CEO of JAG-K, presented the coin, which comes from the military tradition of rewarding excellence and reminding the bearer of the group it represents, for his work in bringing the organization to Kansas.
“JAG is doing what we need done with these students,” Brownback said upon being presented the coin. “We need to find those who are falling through the cracks and build them up.”
Fearing also brought letters from participants in the program at the Larry Dixon Center for Innovative Studies in Junction City. Fearing said the letters were from students who wanted to thank the Governor for the opportunities and support the program has provided them.
“The students wanted the Governor to know they would have been lost without JAG,” Fearing said. “They wanted to show their appreciation.”
A certificate presented with the challenge coin read:
“Jobs for America’s Graduates – Kansas presents Governor Sam Brownback with the first Jobs for America’s Graduates – Kansas Challenge Coin for his support of JAG-K and the Jobs for America’s Graduates program. Governor Brownback initiated the efforts to bring the JAG program to Kansas and continues to support the education and development of Kansas’ youth by serving on the national JAG Board of Directors. His foresight in bringing the program to Kansas has resulted in increased graduation rates among students at-risk of not graduating, increased employment by the graduates of the JAG-K programs, and increased post-secondary educational enrollment by the graduates of the JAG-K programs.”
Participating School Districts:
JAG-K is currently in 28 school districts across Kansas including Atchison, KCK, Kansas City Turner, Basehor-Linwood, Lawrence, Topeka, Royal Valley, Salina, Concordia, Hutchinson, Wichita, Arkansas City, Pittsburg, Newton, Parsons, Labette County, Geary County, Liberal, Garden City, Stafford, Kiowa County, Dodge City, Holcomb, Pratt, Kingman-Norwich, Coffeyville, El Dorado, and Emporia. Within those 28 school districts, JAG-K is in 61 public schools.
JAG has already reached more than 3,100 students in just two school years. Fearing said it will serve approximately 3,400 in the 2015-2016 school year.
JAG uniquely monitors students for one full year beyond their senior year, continuing to support the student in enrolling in post-secondary education, finding employment, and if they didn’t graduate on time—working on getting their high school diploma or its equivalent.
JAG-K is primarily funded by a grant administered by the Kansas Department for Children and Families and is additionally supported by the JAG-K Board of Directors, Seaboard Foods, Archer Daniels Midland, Kansas National Guard, and the Kansas Chamber of Commerce.
(JAG-K President/CEO Matt Fearing and Governor Sam Brownback)