Many of you have probably heard of Junior Achievement (JA), the organization that helps K-12 students learn and understand the importance of work-readiness, entrepreneurship and financial literacy skills. It is an after school program that many students can participate in to better understand the basics of setting up and running a small business, but it is really so much more.
In Southwest Indiana, JA provides classroom education to 38 percent of the high school students and 28 percent of all students in grades K-12. One of the educational requirements the Legislature approved during my tenure as State Representative is the requirement for all K-12 students to complete courses in financial literacy. That is where JA makes a difference.
These programs are provided to schools free of charge, and their mission is to reach as many students as possible. In fact, since Junior Achievement of Southwestern Indiana was founded in 1964, it has served more than 23,000 students per year in 13 counties. They are able to do this with the help of more than 800 volunteers who provide classes to students.
JA is working to inspire and prepare young people to succeed in a global economy. Volunteers teach a wide variety of classes from kindergarten, discussing decision-making and teamwork, all the way up to seniors in high school. High schools seniors will cover topics including: how the banking system operates, how to create a professional image and analyzing and interpreting financial data.
In addition to the classroom programs that already complement the student’s core curriculum, JA offers an Eighth Grade Job Shadow Day and a middle school and high school Career Exploration Day that both provide a terrific opportunity for companies to make a real impact on their communities’ economic future. The programs help students to enter the workplace, see real jobs in action and talk with individuals about their career, making the working world a little less complex.
These kinds of programs help to reinforce a student’s plans for future education and become more determined to reach their career goals. Locally, the Jasper chapter of JA continues to grow, and, if interested, there are always ways to partner with the program.
The Adopt-A-School campaign is great for helping to financially support their efforts, and to provide additional volunteers to teach students in the classroom. For those who would like additional information on JA and its programs, contact their office by calling 812-425-8152 or visiting their website at www.jaswin.org.
Teaching our children about financial literacy and career readiness is critical to being successful in any career path. Their success will be our success, and I applaud JA for the top-notch services they provide to our students and our community.