JAG Annual National Leadership Awards Luncheon Washington Hyatt on Capitol Hill

JAG Annual National Leadership Awards Luncheon Washington Hyatt on Capitol Hill
Theme:  “Success with Student Employment against the Odds”

The JAG community gathered, as they do each year, in the Nation’s capital to recognize the leadership, donors, volunteers, and students across the JAG National Network. These events are a culmination of the hard work and dedication of all those in the JAG “family” throughout the past year. They are a reminder of the success of the program, and in turn, the undeniable importance of the program. Among the 760 guests were 497 student success stories along with the state and national leaders of the 33-state JAG National Network – which is also the largest number of state organizations in JAG’s history–along with faithfully supportive sponsors and friends of Jobs for America’s Graduates.

The awards luncheon on November 17th was the main event of two days of JAG awards and recognition. Every year JAG students/graduates are selected to sing the National Anthem, share inspirational thoughts and success stories and assist with the presentation of awards.

Welcoming letters were provided by the Chairman of the JAG Board, Governor Jack Markell of Delaware, as well as Vice Chairs, Governor Mike Beebe of Arkansas and Governor Mitch Daniels, Jr. of Indiana. In the very tough economic times of late the JAG program has proven to be resilient and continues to prepare students for employment, college and careers. JAG has endured for thirty-one years because of its strong, committed and visionary leadership on the JAG Board of Directors.

Chairman Governor Jack Markell remarked that “the accomplishments of our front line staff and students over the past year also testify to how JAG can help our young people get and keep good jobs.”  JAG President Ken Smith offered some highlights from the class of 2010 which are very impressive, especially considering nationally we are facing the highest teen unemployment rate in our nation’s history:

  • 93 percent graduation rate from high school
  • 54 percent job placement rate (full-time and part-time)
  • 67 percent full-time jobs rate
  • 88 percent full-time placement rate (civilian and military employment and college)
  • 47 percent further education rate (enrolled in a postsecondary education)

The further education rate of 47% is the highest in JAG’s history. JAG has served 800,000 high-risk students in both recession and recovery and almost every other socioeconomic environment. The performance outcomes listed above have been consistent throughout JAG’s 31-year history.

The awards luncheon also included:

  • vocal performances by Carmen Dixon, JAG-South Carolina, and Danielle Goodman, JAG-Tennessee;
  • remarks by Montana’s Attorney General and JAG Board member Steve Bullock and U.S. Senator Tom Carper of Delaware; and
  • remarks from Genine Gray, student speaker from JAG-Ohio (Cincinnati)

At the luncheon, board members, donors, volunteers and employers were seated with JAG students who shared a first-hand account of what it’s like to be a student in one of the 850 JAG programs around the nation.

Top corporate investors were recognized including:

  • ArcherDaniels Midland
  • AT&T
  • Microsoft Corporation
  • Verizon
  • Walmart Foundation

The support of the donors and investors allowed students to enroll and participate in a local program and provided the funding for students to attend this once in a lifetime event. These great companies made essential investments in the JAG program and have gained the respect and appreciation of the 42,000 young people served by JAG annually.

Along with the sponsors and donors recognized were special guests and leaders who were deserving of recognition:

  • The 450
  • The JAG Specialists from the 33-state National Network that deliver every day for the young people of JAG on the front lines of the battle for academic and economic success for our young people.
  • The JAG Board of Directors who serve as visionary leaders and are tireless supporters.
  • And many of the 33-state level Affiliate Board members. These leaders help both oversee and carry out the work in each state to achieve the success being celebrated at the awards luncheon.

At the Luncheon, JAG recognized some of America’s most important leaders who contributed their time, expertise, and energies to the mission of Jobs for America’s Graduates. 

President Ken Smith highlighted an exciting new partnership with the NFL Alumni Association composed of thousands of NFL retired players nationwide who have formed 27 NFL Alumni chapters.  These chapters are committed to caring for kids by hosting fundraising events, putting on sports clinics, engaging in community-service activities and serving as mentors and leaders for young people. 

The sponsors, donors and awardees at the 2011 JAG Awards Luncheon help us make a decisive difference in the lives and careers of young people across this great nation.  As we look forward to another year, we gladly accept the challenges and triumphs 2012 will bring and feel fortunate to have the support of those recognized at the 2011 Awards Luncheon.