Preparing Students for Successful Futures
May 2021
JAG-K Students Compete in Virtual State CDC
More than 150 students from JAG-K programs across the state participated in the organization’s annual State Career Development Conference (CDC), held virtually on April 21. Winners of the six different areas of competition were announced that afternoon.
In past years, the State CDC competitions were held at a central location. Due to COVID-19 precautions, the competitions were conducted virtually for the second year in a row.
“Last year, very early in the pandemic, we found that we could still hold a very effective CDC virtually,” said Chuck Knapp, President/CEO of JAG-K. “It is really important that we provide students opportunities to showcase their skills. While we hope to return to an in-person CDC in the future, we may keep elements of the virtual event to allow more students to participate.”
The 150 participants competed in events that showcase competencies attained in the JAG-K program. Students who placed in the top three in the high school CDC competitions are: 
·     Employability: 1st Kaedan Kearn, Concordia; 2nd Ashlee Parker, Russell; 3rd Emma Paramore, McPherson

·     Public Speaking: 1st Ryah Klima, Concordia; 2nd Adonica Daub, Goodland; 3rd Bryce Hopkins, Great Bend

·     Financial Literacy: 1st Alexander Engle, McPherson; 2nd (tie) Nickolas Mercer, Seaman, and Gracie Leonard, Holcomb

·     Project-Based Learning: 1st Tanner Rexwinkle and Hunter Robben of Russell; 2nd Jasmine St. John, Hutchinson; 3rd Dakota Aumiller, Great Bend

·     T-shirt Design: 1st Riley Olauson, Hiawatha; 2nd Graciela Garcia, Pratt; 3rd Courtney Eickbush, McPherson

·     Senior Scholarship: 1st Yoselyn Castaneda, Pittsburg; 2nd Blair Holiday, Holcomb; 3rd Cheyenne Gordon, El Dorado
Teams were also awarded recognition based on their collective performance. The top three teams came from McPherson High School (1st place), Concordia High School (2nd place), and Russell High School (3rd place).  
Competition in four categories was staged for middle school participants as well. Westridge Middle School in Shawnee Mission placed first in the team standings, followed by KC-Turner Middle School and Kiowa County Junior High School.
Students who placed in the top three in the middle school CDC competitions are: 
·     Employability: 1st Olivia Overton, Westeridge MS, Shawnee Mission; 2nd Regan Greenleaf, Kiowa County; 3rd Corey Coulter, Colby
·     Public Speaking: 1st Marcos Hook, Cruz Hernandez, Regina Uscanga, Shelby Stephenson, K’talya Webb, Turner MS Kansas City; 2nd Haylei Greene, Asher Odell, Avianna Balbueno, Kaysten Barrett, Colby; 3rd Breana Maxwell, Spencer Lowe, Jeremiah Anderson, Kellen Gibson, Winfield
·     Financial Literacy: 1st Trevor Morgan, Hutchinson: 2nd Caden Perez, Westridge MS, Shawnee Mission; 3rd Brooklyn Gilchrist, Kiowa County
·     Project Based Learning: 1st Brielle Poe-Thomas, Parker Witt, Humberto Miranda, Westridge MS, Shawnee Mission; 2nd Myron Berry, Dylan White, Izzy Gomez, Turner MS Kansas City; 3rd Ryan Flores, Kadyn Vierthaler, Hutchinson
Earlier this year, each of the eight JAG-K Regions hosted Career Development Conferences to determine those who qualify for state. Qualifying students were those who placed in the top three of each category at their Regional CDC.  

New Student Officers Elected
In addition to the competitions at the State Career Development Conference (CDC), JAG-K participants across Kansas voted for statewide officers for the next year. These four officers will attend the National Student Leadership Academy (NSLA) in Washington, D.C. later this year.
Representing JAG-K at NSLA as elected state officers will be:
President, Devin Russell, Augusta (pictured)
Vice-president, Ryah Klima, Concordia
Secretary, Karin Moorhouse, Hiawatha
Treasurer, Kaden Nguyen, Emporia

The students' election to a state office qualifies them for membership in the newly formed JAG National Career Association.
State Treasurer Visits Pittsburg JAG-K Program
State Treasurer Lynn Rogers visited the JAG-K program at Pittsburg High School to encourage students to pursue educational opportunities and to tap resources to pursue their dreams.

Rogers spoke to about 70 participants in the JAG-K program about the importance of education and training in skilled trades. He met with JAG-K student President Emily Wachter, as well as with teachers and guidance counselors.

Rogers informed the group of his office’s SholarShop initiative – a partnership with Sallie Mae to help connect Kansas students with more than five million scholarships sponsored by a wide variety of private groups, organizations and non-profits.

“I think one of the most influential aspects of Treasurer Rogers’ visit was that students saw that there are people in government who care about them and are working to improve their lives and futures,” said PHS JAG-K Career Specialist Jessica Avery. “The presentation helped to eliminate the scary stigma of the scholarship application process. The students realized it is much more doable than they may have originally thought.”
Partnership with John Deere in Coffeyville Grows

The Jobs for America’s Graduates-Kansas (JAG-K) program at Field Kindley Memorial High School in Coffeyville was recently awarded a grant of $36,000 by a local John Deere unit to help fund the program.
Over the past five years, the Coffeyville JAG-K program has developed a local partnership with John Deere Coffeyville Works. (JDCW). The manufacturing plant has made donations each of the past five years to help fund the in-school workforce-development program.
Going beyond making a financial donation, JDCW is making an impact on students by exposing Coffeyville JAG-K participants to opportunities and sharing tips on how to be successful.
The evidence-based educational program helps students prepare for post-secondary educational and employment opportunities. There are 78 programs in schools across Kansas, serving about 4,000 students. JAG-K students had a graduation rate of 96 percent for the Class of 2020.
Under the direction of Career Specialist Shayla Reliford, the Field Kindley Memorial High School JAG-K program serves 53 participants. The grant provided by JDCW pays for the local program’s JAG-K fees, administrative costs, and a portion of the Career Specialists’ salary. 
“We are so appreciative of John Deere’s financial support of the program at Field Kindley,” said JAG-K president/CEO Chuck Knapp. “It is an investment in the future workforce of Coffeyville that will change many lives.”
A panel of John Deere employees, representing a variety of roles within the company, spoke virtually with the JAG-K students. Invited to watch online were other JAG-K programs across the state. Students prepared questions in advance of the virtual meeting.
“Our objective was to create interest in the John Deere organization among our students,” Reliford said about the virtual panel discussion. “Our students were able to learn about opportunities that these employees have had, and how they prepared themselves for their careers.”
JDCW employs about 275 people at the Coffeyville location, assembling drive train components and producing parts for power systems for John Deere partners. Initially founded as Funk Manufacturing in 1941, the corporation was purchased by John Deere in 1989.
Michael Marquart, manager of Labor Relations for JDCW, said the company emphasizes giving back to the community, and it has made partnering with JAG-K a long-term commitment.
“If kids don’t know what’s out there and available to them, they’re going to miss the opportunities,” Marquart said. “There are some things about being successful in the workplace that you just can’t learn in a classroom.”
“We are helping students gain a broad perspective on future opportunities, and exposing them to successful adults from a great corporation like John Deere can be very meaningful as they think about their own careers.” Reliford said.
JDCW recognizes that building a strong workforce in Coffeyville is critical to its future success.
“The skilled labor shortage is huge, and that will affect us a great deal in the future,” Marquart said. “We have to ask ‘How do we get young people to go into those trades?’ At the end of the day, it they don’t wind up coming to work for us, it’s still a great field to be in, and the demand for skilled labor is super high.”
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