The newly elected president of the Jobs for America’s Graduates-Kansas (JAG-K) association of students is one of many in the organization who have benefited from its partnership with Walmart.
Nuru Abdallah, a senior-to-be at Wyandotte High School, was elected president of the JAG-K student Career Association in May. In that role, she will work with leaders from around the state and interact with other leaders from across the country to shape the direction of the nationwide organization.
For the past year, Abdallah has developed some of the skills and traits needed in this leadership role through employment at a Walmart store in Roeland Park, Kansas. Balancing a part-time job and school, the 17-year-old works primarily as a cashier and in customer service, but she plays a variety of roles as needed.
“I feel like I have grown a lot from the job,” Abdallah said. “I’m much more focused on my future from interacting with adults and having to be responsible.
“I’m a people person. I love meeting new people. My co-workers are nice, and I enjoy interacting with the customers.”
JAG-K is a multi-year, in-school program for students in grades six through 12 that offers tools to successfully transition students into post-secondary school, the military, or directly into the workforce with marketable skills. Kansas’ 81 JAG programs, which serve approximately 4,300 students in 43 school districts across the state, reported a graduation rate of 97 percent for the Class of 2020.
Walmart currently employs 36 JAG-K participants across Kansas. Walmart makes annual donations to support the efforts of JAG-K to prepare the future workforce of Kansas. Ryan Irsik, Director of Public Affairs & Government Relations for Walmart recently met with Abdallah and JAG-K President and CEO Chuck Knapp to present a donation of $15,000 to the organization.
“We appreciate Walmart recognizing and joining in the efforts of JAG-K to help students prepare for successful futures,” Knapp said. “Walmart’s financial support is an investment in the future workforce of Kansas that will change many lives.”
“At Walmart, we truly believe there is a path of opportunity for everyone to unlock their potential and enjoy a purpose-driven career,” Irsik said. “We are honored to support JAG-K because of the incredible work the organization does to partner with students across the state to help them overcome identified barriers and prepare for college or career pathways that will set them up for success in the future.”
Abdallah said JAG-K helped prepare her to handle the responsibility of her job.
“JAG-K makes me set good standards for myself,” Abdallah said. “I’ve learned to be a good leader and a good worker. It helped prepare me for what adults expect from an employee.”
“It is a great feeling to know we are influencing the lives of over 4,300 JAG-K students, including 36 students who are currently employed at Walmart stores across the state,” Irsik said. “We are extremely proud of our associates who participate in JAG-K, and we are humbled to be a part of their journey as they take a first step on the path leading into a long, rewarding career.”
Abdallah said among the many skills developed at Walmart, she has learned to resolve conflicts and to follow instructions.
“To students who are looking for a job, I would tell them ‘Be mature. As soon as you are in a job, no one is going to tell you to do things right. It’s expected,’” Abdallah added.
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 40 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, Evergy, Goldstein Charitable Trust, John Deere, the Kansas Health Foundation, the Kansas Insurance Department, the Kansas State Bank Commissioner, Stormont Vail Health, Synchrony Financial, the Taco Bell Foundation 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.