Supporters tell DCF the evidence-based program changes lives 

TOPEKA – A student who has been in the Kansas foster care system for years praised Jobs for America’s Graduates – Kansas (JAG-K) as the one consistent element in her life. The student said JAG-K Career Specialists have cared about her and taught her skills that will help her in life after high school. Although she has been placed in multiple homes and facilities, each school district had a JAG-K program.

“Jobs for America’s Graduates-Kansas has continuously provided opportunities to ensure that students successfully graduate from high school in spite of numerous barriers,” wrote Dr. Charles Foust, Superintendent of Schools for Kansas City, Kansas Public School District (KCKPS), in testimony provided for a public meeting hosted Monday by the Kansas Department for Children and Families (DCF). “The JAG National Network’s partnership with KCKPS is imperative in order to help increase positive student outcomes and prevent student drop-outs.” 

Foust and the student were just two examples of other superintendents and students from across the state supporting continued funding for the evidence-based program that has 79 in-school programs in 41 Kansas school districts, serving approximately 4,000 students. DCF Secretary Laura Howard scheduled the stakeholder meeting to discuss budget priorities. DCF has provided most of the funding for JAG-K since it was introduced in Kansas in 2013.

“DCF has been a great partner over the years, and Governor Kelly is helping to help identify additional funding sources to continue to build on our successes in Kansas,” said JAG-K President and CEO Chuck Knapp. “We look forward to working with the Governor and Secretary Howard in looking for new ways to help students in foster care and other youth. The foundation for both of those efforts is a strong network of traditional JAG-K programming throughout the state.” 

JAG-K is a multi-year, in-school program for students in grades seven through 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. In 2018, JAG-K students had a 98 percent graduation rate.  

The 501(c) 3 not-for-profit organization is one of 35 state affiliate organizations of Jobs for America’s Graduates and is primarily funded through the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families block grant to the State of Kansas administered by DCF. In addition to school districts and DCF, JAG-K partners with the Kansas Department of Education. Other JAG-K funding sources include AT&T, John Deere, and Taco Bell.  

To learn more about JAG-K, visit www.jagkansas.org, ‘Jobs for America’s Graduates- Kansas’ on Facebook, and on Twitter at @JAG_Kansas.