Washington, D.C., January 11, 2018 – Two Arkansans were recognized nationally for their outstanding leadership of the Jobs for America’s Graduates program. Chris Masingill and Marylene Tate accepted major awards recognizing their leadership at the JAG National Leadership Awards Events in Washington on November 28and 29, 2017.

Chris Masingill, former Federal Co-Chair of the Delta Regional Authority, was presented with the first-ever Hope and Opportunity Partnership Award by Governor John Bel Edwards of Louisiana, Vice Chair of the JAG Board of Directors, at the November 28 Special Recognition Reception held at the AT&T Forum for Technology, Entertainment and Policy in downtown Washington D.C. Governor Edwards recognized Masingill as a “great national partner and tireless advocate for Jobs for America’s Graduates’ schools, programs, and students.” As the former Federal Chairman of the Delta Regional Authority, Masingill worked with the eight governors on the DRA Board to bring over $1 million in incentive grants to encourage dozens of new schools in the Delta Region that had never had the opportunity to implement the JAG Model. Governor Edwards noted, “Chris has shown great commitment and passion for helping the young people we serve and those throughout the Delta region succeed by providing them with countless opportunities and hope for the future.”

After many years of JAG leadership, Marylene Tate, recently retired State Director of Jobs for Arkansas Graduates, was also recognized at the Reception for her passion, determination and drive to ensure that all Arkansas youth are equipped with the tools and resources needed to succeed in high school and beyond. While serving as the State Director of Jobs for Arkansas Graduates, she managed one of the largest and highest-performing JAG Model Affiliates. Year after year, Jobs for Arkansas Graduates has received the “5-of-5” Award, the highest national performance recognition that JAG offers. Tate has been a committed leader of the Jobs for Arkansas Graduates program, always going “above and beyond” for the JAG students in Arkansas.

Ken Smith, President of Jobs for America's Graduates, congratulated both, noting, “Arkansas has produced some great leaders, who have made JAG a success in Arkansas and around the region – none more committed than Marylene and Chris.”

The JAGNational Leadership Awards Events celebrate leaders from business, government, education, workforce systems, and the community who have shown special dedication and commitment to the mission of JAG in helping youth succeed. The 2017 Luncheon was the largest event in JAG’s history with approximately 1,100 in attendance, including 750 students from across the country who were participating in the concurrent National Student Leadership Academy. Twelve Governors serve on the JAG National Board of Directors, including Governor Asa Hutchinson. Five Governors attended this year’s Luncheon: Phil Bryant (MS), JAG National Chair; John Bel Edwards (LA), incoming Vice Chair; Matt Bevin (KY); Sam Brownback (KS); and Chris Sununu (NH).

“Governor Asa Hutchinson and the Arkansas Department of Career Education are committed to providing quality JAG programs for our most at-risk youth so that they will stay in school through graduation, pursue postsecondary education and secure quality entry-level jobs leading to careers,” stated Charisse Childers, Director of the Arkansas Department of Career Education.  Jobs for Arkansas Graduates operates in 155 schools, serving 2,044 young people and achieving graduation rates in excess of 90%. The program’s success rate in helping students secure jobs is more than double the rate of their counterparts not enrolled in JAG.


About Jobs for America’s Graduates

Jobs for America’s Graduates (JAG), is a non-profit youth development program committed to helping America’s most at-risk kids excel in high school, prepare for success in college, and embark on a rewarding career. Since its inception in 1980, JAG has served more than 1.2 million at-risk kids, and is currently serving over 57,000 students in 34 states. JAG students have a graduation rate of over 90 percent, and approximately 80 percent of those graduates go on to postsecondary education, military service, and/or full-time employment.