Last week, more than 170 students from across Kansas visited the State Capitol, Washburn University and five businesses in Topeka as part of the first Jobs for America’s Graduates-Kansas (JAG-K) Senior Days event.
Three consecutive Senior Days brought students from 37 Kansas schools to the Statehouse to learn about the governmental process and meet with legislators from their respective areas. A group of JAG-K students and staff met with Gov. Laura Kelly as part of their visit on Feb. 22. Kelly is a member of the Jobs for America’s Graduates national board.
Students also toured Washburn University campus and met administrators to learn more about the school.
“It’s important that we familiarize our students with their post-secondary options, so we make an effort to introduce them to all the colleges in Kansas,” said Elizabeth Hamblin, Programming Coordinator for JAG-K. “We really appreciate Washburn for opening its doors to help our students get a vision for attending college.”
JAG-K partnered with five Topeka businesses to introduce students from across the state to a host of jobs and careers. Hosting students in Topeka were U.S. Bank, HF Rubber Machinery, Inc., the Walmart eCommerce Fulfillment Center, Stormont Vail Health, and Mars Wrigley. Helping coordinate the visits to Topeka-area businesses was Trina Goss, Director of Business and Talent Initiatives at Go Topeka.
Jay Macy, career specialist at Minneapolis High School, shared his appreciation for the hosts who took time to meet with students.
“Some jobs, you just can’t know what they’re like until you see them,” Macy said. “This was great because the students got to see things that they don’t see on a daily basis. Seeing people doing these jobs and who care about what they’re doing really impresses the students.”
JAG-K provides opportunities for students to explore careers through employer engagement relationships. Those experiences may include field trips, job shadows, internships and summer or part-time employment. Senior Days in Topeka were planned this year to introduce students to careers while in Topeka to visit the Capitol and learn more about government.
“Especially coming from a place like Goodland where there are limited workplace options, it’s really nice to come and see the opportunities that are out there,” said Adonica Daub, a senior at Goodland High School. “It’s so important to get out of your school and your town to see it, because you don’t realize what a different environment is like. It’s really eye-opening.”
JAG-K is a multi-year, in-school program for students in grades 6-12 that offers tools to successfully transition students into post-secondary school, the military, or directly into the workforce with marketable skills. Participants in the program face multiple barriers to success that their JAG-K Career Specialist helps them overcome through a nationally-accredited, evidence-based model.
The 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization is a state affiliate of the national JAG program network which operates in 38 different states and territories. It is primarily funded through the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families block grant to the State of Kansas administered by the Kansas Department for Children and Families (DCF). In addition to school districts and DCF, JAG-K partners with the Kansas Department of Education. Other JAG-K funding sources include ADM, AT&T, EagleU, Evergy, Goldstein Charitable Trust, the JB and Anne Hodgdon Foundation, John Deere, the Kansas Chamber of Commerce, Kansas Gas Service, the Kansas Insurance Department, the Kansas State Bank Commissioner, Royals Charities, Synchrony Financial, the Taco Bell Foundation, the City of Topeka, United Way of the Plains and Walmart.
To learn more about JAG-K, visit www.jagkansas.org, ‘Jobs for America’s Graduates-Kansas’ on Facebook, and on Twitter at @JAG_Kansas.