JAG names co-executive directors to support vulnerable students

Published 6:45 am Tuesday, May 25, 2021


News release

Jobs for America’s Graduates Kentucky (JAG KY), serving Kentucky youth who face significant academic, environmental, and economic challenges, has named George Stafford and Marcie Hanson as co-executive directors, effective July 1.

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Stafford will handle the business side (external relations) of the organization, which includes new partner development, employer engagement, and fundraising. Hanson will be handling the programs side (internal relations), which includes new program development, employee development, and training.

Stafford, who is a former marketing teacher at Danville High School, has more than 15 years of non-profit management experience and eight years of teaching/JAG experience.

He began his career with JAG KY in 2017, serving as a Specialist at Paris High School and later moved into the position of Director of Employer Engagement, before being named co-executive director. Prior to his tenure with JAG KY, Stafford served as sports marketing coordinator with Host Communications, marketing director for Special Olympics Kentucky, and executive director for the Bluegrass State Games.

In addition, during his 15 years in the non-profit world he has led fundraising efforts through annual giving, sponsorships, and special events. He has spent most of his career building partnerships with donors and maintaining strong relationships. His passion is assisting high school aged students in finding the career paths that match their skill sets, bringing confidence and happiness to their lives.

Stafford holds a bachelor of business administration and master of science from the University of Kentucky and a master of arts in teaching from Morehead State University.

Hanson has 27 years of experience as an educator and specialist for Jobs for America’s Graduates. Hanson has demonstrated extraordinary implementation of the JAG national program model, leading to numerous local, state, and national individual and site recognitions, including the prestigious JAG National Legacy Award.

For the last four years, Marcie has also served as JAG KY state data manager, overseeing and managing positive outcomes and accuracy in representation. In addition to her specialist role, Hanson teaches journalism at Martin County High School (formerly Sheldon Clark High School), is the director of the Cardinal Broadcasting Network, Yearbook and Pep Club sponsor, and is the Men’s and Women’s Head Golf Coach.

She holds a bachelor of arts in English/education with a minor in journalism/radio-television broadcasting and a 5th Year Degree in Education from Morehead State University.

“I am thrilled to name George and Marcie as Co-Executive Directors of JAG KY, as they are both extremely passionate about helping Kentucky’s most vulnerable students succeed in school, post-secondary education, careers, and life. They both have significant experience working with JAG KY, building strong relationships, working with partners and donors, and helping students succeed. I’m confident that they’ll continue to do amazing things for JAG KY and the students of great promise that we serve,” said Larry Caruso, Chairman of the Board for JAG KY.

There are currently 43 programs in schools across Kentucky, serving more than 2100 students. JAG KY has served more than 40,000 students statewide since its inception in 1993.

JAG KY’s outcomes include:

• 100% Graduation rate

• 88% Working and/or in school full time

• 87% Positive outcomes, i.e., Students employed and/or in postsecondary education 12 months after graduation

Through a combination of mentoring, employability skills instruction, and leadership development activities, JAG has served more than 1.4 million students over the past 40 years. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and resulting school closures, JAG KY has pivoted to virtual and hybrid models to continue providing uninterrupted services to its students.

The JAG model consists of comprehensive services that apply a holistic approach to assisting students and participants. Components include classroom instruction, competency-based Project Based Learning, job and postsecondary education placement services, and 12-months of follow-up services after high school graduation.

About Jobs for America’s Graduates Kentucky (JAG KY)

JAG KY had an extraordinary 100% graduation rate for the 2019/2020 school year for the seventh year in a row. The organization is successfully developing the talent Kentucky needs to fuel the economy with new members of the workforce who are both prepared and resilient.

JAG KY is affiliated with Jobs for America’s Graduates (JAG), a national nonprofit that has been reaching our nation’s most underserved youth for 40 years. JAG is a unique, valuable, and necessary program providing youth with the essential skills for success. The JAG National Network has a footprint in 40 states, across 1,450 communities, impacting more than 76,000 youth annually.