Concordia Sophomore Ilyssa Maya to Compete at 2024 JAG National Career Development Conference

Concordia High School Sophomore Ilyssa Maya will Attend the Job's for America's Graduates (JAG) National Career Development Conference April 18-20 in St. Louis, Missouri
Concordia High School Sophomore Ilyssa Maya will Attend the Job's for America's Graduates (JAG) National Career Development Conference April 18-20 in St. Louis, Missouri

Ilyssa Maya, a sophomore student at Concordia High School and a member of the school's Job's for America's Graduates-Kansas (JAG-K) program, will attend the 2024 National Career Development Conference in St. Louis, Missouri this week.

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.  The National Career Development Conference (NCDC) is the pinnacle experience for JAG youth to demonstrate their skills, explore career options, connect with employers, and create pathways for their future as members of the JAG Career Association.

JAG-K is an elective course at CHS taught by Chrissy Henderson, a Career Specialist.

Maya is in her second year in the JAG-K program.  She told KNCK News she enjoys exploring various jobs and industries, learning specific information and gaining personalized, hands-on experiences in these careers fields.

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Last month, Maya joined more than 250 students from across the state at Fort Hays State University for the organization's annual State Career Development Conference (CDC).  At the event, the 250-plus participants competed in events that showcase competencies attained in the JAG-K program.

Maya placed 1st overall in the High School Prepared Speaking competition.

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Maya is the daughter of deaf adults, having been born to deaf parents.

For her competition, she was judged on her prepared speech and effective oral communication.  Maya spoke about the huge impact JAG has had on her life, including helping her bridge the gap between the deaf and hearing community.

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Along with the the competitive events, the National Career Development Conference will also feature a college and career expo and opportunities to explore the rich history and educational experiences available in St. Louis.

Maya says the JAG-K program has given her a framework to develop a plan for her future and hopefully set her up for success in the years to come.

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Kansas' 112 JAG-K programs serve approximately 6,000 students in 47 school districts across the state.  JAG-K Career Specialists help students graduate and learn career, leadership, and life skills by executing a nationally-accredited, evidence-based model.  Participants must meet criteria to be selected for the program and have potential to overcome various barriers to post-secondary success.  Last year, JAG-K had more than 900 high school graduates.

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, the Kansas City Royals Foundation, Kansas Gas Service, the Kansas Insurance Department, the Kansas State Bank Commissioner, Kohl’s, Synchrony Financial, the Taco Bell Foundation, the City of Topeka, United Way of Kaw Valley, United Way of the Plains and Walmart.

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