At the start of the 2013-2014 school year, Jobs for America’s Graduates (JAG) was in 25 public high schools in Kansas. It’s now in 69 schools within 29 school districts across the state, serving more than 2,100 Kansas students. Shawnee Heights High School is the latest to join the JAG team. This afternoon, Governor Sam Brownback made the announcement at the Topeka-area school. AT&T offered a financial contribution to support the program that helps those with barriers to graduation and employment, overcome those obstacles.
“These are students who otherwise might be struggling to reach graduation,” Governor Brownback said. “With the support of JAG, these kids have a bright future filled with success. I can’t wait to see what they accomplish in their lives.”
Other participating JAG-K schools in attendance at today’s event included Royal Valley High School, Hoyt; Highland Park High School, Topeka; and Lawrence Free State High School, Lawrence.
At the close of the program, AT&T Kansas president Mike Scott presented the new JAG-K program at Shawnee Heights with a $30,000 contribution. The program at Shawnee Heights launched in January 2016, and currently serves 35 students.
“Bringing to scale programs like JAG that are making a measurable impact on students who need it most is one of the key ways we can stay on track to meet our graduation goal and prepare more students for the jobs of tomorrow,” Scott said.
Scott said that AT&T is dedicated to helping raise the high school graduation rate in Kansas by expanding academic support for underserved students. JAG-K has received several donations from AT&T as part of a $2.55 million contribution from the company to allow the national non-profit to add new schools and/or expand existing programs with proven records of success in keeping kids in school. Since 2008, AT&T and the AT&T Foundation have provided more than $6 million in funding to JAG and its local affiliates. This support is part of AT&T Aspire, AT&T’s $350 million signature education initiative that drives innovation in education to promote student success in school and beyond.
JAG-K is a non-profit organization that partners with school districts, 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 such as AT&T, Archer Daniels Midland Company, John Deere, Vista Corps, Kansas Volunteer Commission, Walmart, Cox Communications and Amerigroup.
JAG programs help underserved students overcome barriers to graduation through mentoring, tutoring, academic support and links to social services, among other interventions. With a high school diploma or general educational diploma (GED), students are guided into post-secondary education, entry-level careers or the military.
(AT&T Kansas president Mike Scott presents a check for $30,000 to Shawnee Heights Superintendent Dr. Martin Stessman, Governor Sam Brownback and the JAG-K Board to support the new JAG program at Shawnee Heights High School.)