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[DWD] Local Indiana JAG Specialists Recognized at National Ceremony
Start Date: 8/5/2015Start Time: 12:00 AM
End Date: 8/5/2015
Entry Description

INDIANAPOLIS (August 5, 2015) Jobs for America’s Graduates (JAG) specialists in Indiana’s twelve economic growth regions were recently awarded the prestigious Outstanding Specialist Award at the JAG National Training Seminar in New Orleans. The recognition was given to each specialist for their respective efforts in increasing graduation rates and student participation in their respective JAG class. Indiana JAG specialists’ leadership and positive influence on students also helped Indiana JAG earn several national awards.

The following specialists earned the Outstanding Specialist Award:

  • REGION 1: Ceona Smith of Gary West Side Leadership Academy (view release)
  • REGION 2: Sarah Taylor of Riley High School and Heather Williams of St. Joseph WorkOne (view release)
  • REGION 3: Brody Young of Northrop High School (view release) 
  • REGION 4: Tammy Ballard of Kokomo High School (view release)
  • REGION 5: Elliot Doan of Martinsville High School (view release)
  • REGION 6: Sarah Everhart of Knightstown High School (view release)
  • REGION 7: Greg Lee of Terre Haute South High School (view release)
  • REGION 8: Derek Morgan of Owen Valley High School and Estelle Diener-Stroup of Bedford North Lawrence High School (view release)
  • REGION 9: Celeste Bowman of Seymour High School (view release)
  • REGION 10: Brian Cleveland of Jeffersonville High School (view release)
  • REGION 11: Kyela Jones of Lincoln High School (view release)
  • REGION 12: Elizabeth Vea-Smith of George Washington Community High School and Victoria Britton of YouthWorks Indy (view release)

“The success of Indiana’s JAG program continues to lead the nation in reinforcing positive opportunities for our at-risk students,” said Steven J. Braun, Commissioner of the Indiana Department of Workforce Development.  “Our thanks and appreciation to these award-winning JAG specialists whose leadership and dedication encourage our students to achieve their highest potential.”

In addition to these outstanding specialist awards, Indiana was recognized for the third straight year with a 1st place national award for highest scholarship dollars ($15 million) earned by students and earned the Peak Performance award for outstanding participation and group performance rates.  Eleven of Indiana’s 12 regions received the prestigious “5 of 5” Award for exceeding national goals for graduation, post-secondary education, enrollment, securing entry-level jobs leading to career advancement opportunities and positive outcomes.  

JAG is a state-based, national non-profit organization dedicated to reconnecting at-risk students academically by helping them overcome barriers to graduation, with 118 programs active in Indiana. Students receive adult mentoring from a JAG Specialist while in school and one year of follow-up counseling after graduation. Indiana’s program graduates more than 93 percent of participants and many students choose to continue their education after high school.

More than 13,000 students have participated in Indiana’s JAG program since 2006. Students are taught up to 88 competencies such as critical thinking, team leadership and effective communications skills that increase their employability skills. With recent program expansions driven by Governor Mike Pence and the Indiana General Assembly, the JAG program is the largest in the nation and is funded through grants provided by the Indiana Department of Workforce Development. 

To learn more about the Indiana JAG program, visit


Contact Information:
Name: Joe Frank
Phone: 317-234-7671
Entry Type:
Press Release
Entry Category:
  • Announcements
  • Category:
  • Business & Agriculture
  • Education
  • Agency Name
    Workforce Development, Indiana Department of

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