SULLIVAN, Ind. (WTWO/WAWV) — Several high school students from Sullivan and Brazil took home top honors at the 15th Annual Jobs for America’s Graduates (JAG) State Career Development Conference last week.

The Western Indiana students visited Ivy Tech’s anchor campus in Indianapolis to compete across several various disciplines often considered essential for employment. The students highlighted skills that ranged from critical thinking to entrepreneurship to employability skills. 

Around 150 students from across Indiana competed for the chance to win cash prizes and to earn statewide honors for their local JAG program.  

The following schools, categories, placements, and students participated in the 15th Annual Jobs for America’s Graduates State Career Development Conference:

  • Cloverdale High School 
    • Financial Literacy | 1st Place: Carson Hall
    • Project-Based Learning | 3rd place: Keelie Pierce, Kaydence Sharp, Kiersten Wade 
    • Social Media | 1st Place: Cloverdale JAG Cohort
  • Sullivan High School 
    • Writing Skills | 1st Place: Nevaeh Gordon
  • Northview High School
    • Outstanding Senior | Honorable Mention: Nathaniel Reedy

Greg Lee, JAG Coordinator, said that the Social Media category is one of the events that is judged based on the entire group’s efforts, that the social media account is entirely student-run, and that the students receive the money to put toward JAG projects.

Students who competed in Indianapolis earned their first-place awards during the regional JAG career competition in Terre Haute that took place in January. Sponsored by Ivy Tech Terre Haute, Duke Energy, and the Western Indiana Workforce Development Board, over 200 students participated and competed in the JAG program.

The JAG program is a workforce skills preparation program designed for high school students across America. The JAG program focuses on helping support students in learning the important skills needed for successful employment and earning their high school diplomas. Skills like leadership, job-seeking, academic skills, team building, and problem-solving, are all a part of the JAG program’s focus. 

“We are proud of the JAG programs in our region for developing young leaders and positioning them to compete against some of the best minds in our state,” said Greg Lee, who oversees nine JAG programs in western Indiana. “The JAG experience not only sets young people up for success after high school, it also teaches valuable personal and career skills they will carry with them throughout their lives,” he added.

There are more than 135 JAG programs operating in Indiana. Thanks to the support of local schools and the Western Indiana Workforce Development Board, the JAG programs are offered at Northview High School in Brazil, Riverton Parke Junior/Senior High School in Montezuma, West Vigo High School in Terre Haute, North Putnam High School in Roachdale, Sullivan High School in Sullivan, Terre Haute North Vigo High School, Terre Haute South Vigo High School, Cloverdale High School and Parke Heritage High School in Rockville.