In Topeka, the Kansas branch of the Jobs for America’s Graduates program presented Governor Sam Brownback with an honorary challenge coin at the State Capitol Building. In addition, he was presented with letters of appreciation from participants in the program. The JAG-Kansas program was founded in 2013.
Matthew Fearing, President/CEO of JAG-Kansas, presented Governor Brownback with the coin, which comes from the military tradition of rewarding excellence. The coin also reminds the bearer of the group it represents. The Governor received the coin for his work in bringing the JAG 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.”
The participants in the Kansas program wrote letters that Fearing brought to the Larry Dixon Center in Junction City. The students had written the letters to thank the Governor for the opportunities and support the JAG-Kansas program provides them. “The students wanted the Governor to know they would have been lost without JAG,” Fearing said. “They wanted to show their appreciation.”
The certificate presented to the Governor with his challenge coin read: “Jobs for America’sGraduates–Kansas presents Governor Sam Brownback with the first Jobs for America’s Graduate-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.”
JAG-Kansas is currently active in 28 school districts across the state of 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-Kansas has programs in 61 public schools. JAG-Kansas has already reached more than 3,100 students in just two academic years. Fearing said it will serve approximately 3,400 in the upcoming 2015-2016 school year.
The primary source of funding for JAG-Kansas is a grant administered by the Kansas Department for Children and Families. In addition, the program is supported by the JAG-K Board of Directors, Seaboard Foods, Archer Daniels Midland, Kansas National Guard, and the Kansas Chamber of Commerce.