Kenneth M. Smith, President & Chief Executive, JAG

Board Officer: President & Chief Executive, JAG

Mr. Kenneth M. Smith serves as President and CEO of Jobs for America’s Graduates, Inc. (JAG), the nation’s largest, most consistently applied model of dropout prevention and employment for at-risk and disadvantaged young people. 

In 1979, Mr. Smith worked with Governor Pete du Pont of Delaware on the design of the first statewide test of the JAG Model and has served as President and CEO since the inception of JAG.  JAG currently serves 63,000 at-risk young people annually, in nearly 1,000 high schools in 35 states.  Two thousand young people were enrolled in a test of JAG in the United Kingdom under the auspices of The Prince’s Trust. JAG has served 1,200,000 young people since its inception. 

The non-profit JAG national Board of Directors is chaired by Governor Eric Holcomb of Indiana.  It includes among its 50 members—10 Governors and community, education, government and C-Suite corporate leaders. 

In recognition of his knowledge of national employment and training issues, three Presidents have appointed Mr. Smith to national commissions.  He was appointed in 1981 and again in 1983 by President Reagan as Chairman of the National Commission for Employment Policy.  Designed to analyze the full range of government policy related to employment, the Commission continues with a 15-member professional staff.  Mr. Smith also accepted an appointment by President Reagan to the National Advisory Council on Vocational Education, where he had previously served under appointment by President Ford.  President Nixon appointed Mr. Smith as Vice Chairman of the National Advisory Council on the Education of Disadvantaged Children for the period 1973-76. 

Mr. Smith is also Chairman and Chief Executive of Strategic Partnerships LLC.  Strategic Partnerships is a leading domestic and international solutions practice that helps companies and organizations build new partnerships with government and private sector organizations, solve workforce development issues, and secure government funding to offset related costs. 

Prior to founding JAG, Mr. Smith served as staff aide to President Nixon (1969-70); as Director of Special Projects for the Distributive Education Clubs of America; and founder and President of 70,0001 Ltd., a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping high school dropouts obtain employment.  Thereafter, he served in a new post as Senior Advisor to the Governor of Delaware on all activities related to education at the secondary and postsecondary levels.  During this period, he chaired the Commission of the Future of Education in Delaware and was nominated to serve as the Chairman of the Board of Trustees of Delaware Technical and Community Colleges. 

Mr. Smith serves as a Trustee of the America’s Promise Alliance, founded in 1997 with General Colin Powell as Chairman and chaired today by Alma Powell. The Alliance is a cross-sector partnership of more than 300 corporations, nonprofits, faith-based organizations, and advocacy groups that are passionate about improving lives and changing outcomes for children. 

Mr. Smith holds a Bachelor of Arts in International Relations from the School of International Service at American University.  He resides with his wife in Sarasota, Florida.  His daughters and sons-in-law reside in Annandale, Virginia and New York City, respectively, in pursuit of their careers.