Insatiably curious, entrepreneurs are eager to chase their dreams and see them come true. By that definition, youth have unbridled entrepreneurial spirit! We as adults must therefore ignite their passions, inspire them and tap their potential.
Enter Junior Achievement, or JA. By engaging students in a number of enriching, hands-on experiences, JA empowers young people to bring their ideas to life. In addition to entrepreneurship, JA’s hands-on programs teach students about work readiness and financial literacy.
What is Junior Achievement?
Junior Achievement (JA) is a partner of choice for business, education and policy-makers around the world. In fact, it’s the world’s largest non-government organization dedicated to educating young people about business.
Operating in 118 countries around the world, JA reaches over 10 million students each year. Volunteers deliver curriculum-based programs while sharing their own experiences and knowledge. By expanding youth education and economic development, they inspire and prepare young people to succeed in a global economy.
What sorts of programs does JA deliver?
Junior Achievement of Northern Alberta & NWT reaches over 25,000 students each year. By allowing students in Grades 3 to 12 to experience and understand business, its unique programs prepare youth for leadership. Young people gain financial responsibility, make confident decisions and become innovators.
Elementary school programs
Starting in Grades 3 and 4, students explore the ways various jobs in the community can meet their needs and wants. They learn about important tools used in various occupations. Hands-on exploration of the money circle illustrates how jobs and tools together meet our needs. Students also learn about the ways investors, technology and industrial change are interconnected. By teaching children about our technology past and present, activities help students define new ideas for business and society.
Entrepreneurship and business are introduced in Grades 5 and 6, where students learn about money as a means of obtaining the things they need and want. Children learn about smart money management, consumerism and ways to protect themselves financially. They examine what a business is and how it affects our community. Hands-on activities encourage students reflect on the traits and skills entrepreneurs require.
Building on concepts learned previously, students then have an opportunity to operate their own retail business. Working together toward a common goal, they create, organize and run their own business for a day. Discussions allow them to debrief about their challenges and successes.
Junior high school programs
The Diversity in Action program allows students to explore how the diversity within their classrooms and community benefits, hinders and enriches lives and workplaces.
Students also explore personal finance, budgeting, personal investments and money management. They develop an understanding of the information and personal financial choices important for their financial success.
Not only do students learn about debit cards and credit cards, but they also learn about the stock market, investment strategies and research about the business world. An online simulation introduces them to the ethics and philanthropy often associated with a global market.
High school programs
Building on concepts learned in junior high programs, students continue to learn about investment strategies and the stock market. Peer learning also encourages them to explore the skill sets needed to be successful in today’s rapidly changing work environment.
There are myriad benefits to entrepreneurship, and owning a business can start as early as high school. Successful entrepreneurs and role models help students recognize their talents. Industry leaders provide tools and information to encourage the next generation to consider self-employment.
The JA Company Program
The culmination of Junior Achievement is the JA Company Program, open to students in Grades 9 through 12. Groups of students work together after school to operate their own business venture.
Where can I learn more?
Headquartered in Edmonton, Alberta, Junior Achievement of Northern Alberta & NWT serves Edmonton and eight regions across the northern half of the province and Northwest Territories. Contact the Edmonton head office to learn more about programs in Edmonton, St. Albert, Sherwood Park, Spruce Grove, Stony Plain and Leduc.