Junior Achievement provides catalyst for graduates to start their own business

Young entrepreneurs in JA program sell their product at The Forks.
Young entrepreneurs in JA program sell their product at The Forks.

By Marie Hacault

Junior Achievement (JA) is the world’s largest not-for-profit organization dedicated to educating young people about business.
With over 120 charters worldwide, JA brings a global view of business to local communities. Since 1963, Junior Achievement of Manitoba has partnered with educators, donors and volunteers to bring real-world experience into the classroom.
Our programs give students in Grades 3 through 12 the confidence and skills they need to become the next generation of business and community leaders.
Junior Achievement of Manitoba offers many in-school programs; however, the six core business education programs delivered at no cost to elementary, middle, and high school students (Grades 3 to 12) are as follows:
“Our Community” teaches Grade 3 and 4 students about what kind of jobs exist and what skills would be required to attain these jobs.
“Our Business World” teaches Grade 5 and 6 students about small business and the importance of these companies in our community.
“Dollars with Sense” shows Grade 7 and 8 students how to manage their money, playing an investment strategies game to learn about effective spending and how to avoid credit and debt pitfalls.
“Economics for Success” teaches Grade 7 to 9 students the benefits of staying in school and setting career goals for themselves. In addition, they explore a real-life scenario of living on their own and the financial cost of independence.
“Stronger Together – Diversity in Action” is aimed at students in Grades 6 to 8. This program explains the value of diversity and how it contributes to improving morale, creativity, teamwork and productivity. This program supports curriculum objectives of literacy, social studies, citizenship, leadership, career education, and health and physical education.
“Company Program” sees high school students design, organize and operate a real business – truly experiencing how a small business works by discovering the risks and rewards of being an entrepreneur.
This program is delivered both as an in-school program and also as an afterschool, 21-week intensive entrepreneurial program for Grades 9 to 12.
More than 120 schools throughout Manitoba participate every year in the above listed JA programs, reaching approximately 7,000 Manitoban students.
Delivered by more than 200 local volunteers, JA programs enable young people to develop essential life skills through exposure to interactive activities and innovative business solutions.
JA’s impact
Junior Achievement programs produce more financially literate graduates who save more and borrow less than the average Canadian. JA graduates believe that participation in Junior Achievement programs had a significant impact on their desire to stay in school and pursue a post-secondary education, and their ability to get a job and perform at work.
As a result, Junior Achievers are better prepared for the workforce. The end result: accelerated career tracks, altered trajectories and more skilled employees for employers.
Junior Achievement produces graduates who are more likely to become entrepreneurs, create jobs and power our economy. These future business leaders attribute Junior Achievement as being the catalyst that gave them the ambition to open their own business, and the transformational force that empowered them with the skills and abilities to do so successfully.
Junior Achievement is the successful link between education and the business world, giving youth the confidence and knowledge they need to define personal success, enhance their workforce readiness and pursue their dreams.
Furthermore, Junior Achievement inspires youth to make informed, educated and knowledgeable financial decisions; start companies; develop career plans; and express their innovative spirits.
JA funders and fundraising
Junior Achievement of Manitoba is funded by the Manitoba government and various private sector donors. Last year, JA Manitoba established the Manitoba Business Hall of Fame, recognizing local individuals who have made an outstanding contribution (through their lifetime achievements) to the Manitoba business community.
This inaugural event was met with great success and has become JA Manitoba’s largest annual fundraising event.
For more information about the Junior Achievement programs, please contact urban program manager Shauna Angers at sanger@jamanitoba.org or call 204-956-6088.

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