JAG-K helps students graduate and transition to post-secondary options

Posted September 10, 2021

Tommy and Student

Jobs for America’s Graduates-Kansas (JAG-K) partners with public schools to help some of the most educationally at-risk and economically disadvantaged students overcome their barriers to success. We are a nonprofit state affiliate of the national JAG program, which operates in 39 different states and U.S. territories. Currently, we operate in more than 60 Kansas schools (52 high schools, 3 alternative high schools, and 8 middle schools), with aspirations of someday being incorporated into every high school in the state. 

JAG-K helps students, 72% of whom qualify for free or subsidized lunches, successfully transition to post-secondary education, military service, or into the workforce following graduation. By helping these students graduate and succeed after high school, JAG-K provides a direct benefit to Kansas and its communities.

Through the work of a career specialist who teaches an in-school elective course, JAG-K helps identify the most challenged students and provides them with the support and structure they need to rise above their circumstances. The career specialist teaches students employability and career and leadership development skills, and helps with academic remediation. 

JAG-K Students at Capitol
JAG-K helps students not only receive their diplomas, but also learn about career paths, develop the skills needed to succeed in the workplace and gain meaningful employment while still in high school. Graduating from high school and learning a trade produces many great outcomes, which include decreasing homelessness, poverty, involvement with the justice system, social service needs and suicide in communities across Kansas.

JAG-K students learn the soft skills to become reliable employees. They participate in job shadows and internships, and are guided toward entry-level positions where they can develop work skills that will benefit them for a lifetime. In doing so, JAG-K helps direct these disadvantaged students to become productive leaders, as well as to fill a crucial workforce need in their communities. In addition, all of our students complete a minimum of 10 hours of community service each year. 

JAG-K Staff
More than anything, our career specialists invest time, compassion, understanding and love into their students, which is often what these kids need to overcome the hurdles facing them. The career specialists stay in touch with their students during the summers and even continue to guide and mentor them after graduation. This unique feature truly helps guide students through the sometimes-difficult transition into adulthood. 

JAG-K has consistently produced an impressive high school graduation rate of over 96% among its participants. If you think your child would benefit from this program, please visit the JAG-K website to see if your high school offers this program. 

If your community doesn’t offer JAG-K and you’d be interested in helping to bring the program to your local high school, I’d love to visit with you. I can be reached at 785-478-5650 or chuck.knapp@jagkansas.org.


Chuck Knapp
Chuck Knapp has been president and chief executive officer of Jobs for America’s Graduates-Kansas (JAG-K) since 2016. Prior to joining the JAG-K team, Chuck worked in both the private and public sectors, including working for four United States representatives and one governor, and serving as chief of staff to the Kansas lieutenant governor immediately preceding his current role. Chuck is a native of Augusta, Kansas, and a 1988 graduate of the University of Kansas.