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Two Manchester High School students and DeKalb High School were honored at the 2024 National Jobs for America’s Graduates (JAG) Conference in St. Louis April 18-20, the Indiana Department of Workforce Development (DWD) announced.

The national competition is the pinnacle experience for JAG youth across the country to demonstrate their professional skills, explore career options, connect with employers and create pathways for their future. Top students from the state conference, which took place in March, competed at the national event.

Award-winning JAG Indiana students include:

Additionally, JAG programs at Austin High School and DeKalb High School were named outstanding chapters for their work recording and preserving their JAG chapter’s achievements during the school year.

Six JAG Indiana students were named 2024 Kenneth M. Smith scholars at the national event:

  • Carleigh Blevins, Manchester Jr./Sr. High School;
  • Diana Cortez-Sanchez, Jasper High School;
  • JC Matlock, Greenfield Central High School;
  • Callee Riggle, North Putnam High School;
  • Jacob Shopher, Muncie Central High School; and
  • Andrea Williams, Mitchell High School.

The scholarship is awarded to JAG high school seniors who will pursue a post-secondary degree or certificate after graduating from high school. That can include enrolling in a two-year community college, technical college, four-year college or university, or an apprenticeship or trade school.

Students from 38 states competed in events that highlighted the employability skills they have learned through the program.

“Through JAG Indiana, we at DWD see the educational and professional impact the program has on students,” said DWD Commissioner Richard Paulk. “Their recognition and accomplishments on the national stage are encouraging votes of confidence in our expansion efforts. The students’ success is a reminder of why Governor Holcomb committed to doubling the number of JAG students to 11,000 by the end of his term. JAG hones students’ innate talents and abilities, enabling them to make a long-term positive impact on workforce throughout the state of Indiana.”

DWD is expanding JAG with the goal of impacting 11,000 Indiana students through 250 programs annually and looking to launch programs at more middle and high schools as well as some universities by the fall of 2024 and spring of 2025. Currently, JAG Indiana is over 60% of the way toward completing its goal.

There are 14 JAG programs at 13 locations in northeast Indiana. JAG regionally is overseen by Northeast Indiana Works and administered by Brightpoint.