Sections    Saturday October 20th, 2018
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Expect More Excellence Tour: Junior Achievement uses hands-on learning to prepare youth for work and life


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  • Anne Landers/ Junior Achievement

Junior Achievement's BizTown, One Of Junior Achievement’s Most Popular Initiatives, Brings Fourth, Fifth And Sixth Graders Together To Run Their Own Economy. For The Day, Students Become Contributing Members Of Society And Assume The Typical Responsibilities Of An Adult In Order To Learn About Business, Personal Finance And Economics.

Their students are 30 percent more likely to earn a bachelor’s degree and 67 percent more likely to obtain a master’s degree. On average, they earn 20 percent more than the general population and one in three credit the program with influencing their career path.

Junior Achievement Arizona has been preparing youth to succeed in work and life for 60 years. Thanks to their efforts, more than 80,000 Arizona children are learning everything from money management and workplace skills to critical thinking, a skill that many employers say candidates are lacking.

Junior Achievement Arizona video: Junior Achievement’s BizTown

With an age-appropriate, hands-on curriculum, students are taught by trained volunteers who help to connect the dots between the classroom and the real world.

Kindergarteners learn skills such as distinguishing between wants and needs, while high schoolers explore the ins and outs of investing.

The variety of engaging activities are laying the foundation for success in jobs that may not even exist yet.

Their efforts are contributing to the Arizona Education Progress Meter goals to improve high school graduation rates, post high school enrollment and postsecondary attainment.

JA BizTown, one of Junior Achievement’s most popular initiatives, brings fourth, fifth and sixth graders together to run their own economy. For the day, students become contributing members of society and assume the typical responsibilities of an adult in order to learn about business, personal finance and economics.

In the micro-economy, student CEOs obtain bank loans and work to generate revenue to pay that back, workers earn a salary and purchase goods and services, and much more. With guidance from volunteer mentors, students are able to practice making hard decisions in a safe environment. It’s an eye-opening experience for everyone involved.

Overall, Junior Achievement is so impactful that schools are waiting to get involved. It’s targeted to Title I schools, where students are more likely to benefit from the curriculum.

And beyond JA BizTown, the classroom instruction is supplemented by other simulation-based events, such as JA Finance Park and the JA STEM Summit.

Their graduates have great things to say about the program:

  • “Without the JA program, I don’t know what I would be doing now. I’m really grateful because the program gave me the key to the door.” – Aluma
  • “It’s been a great adventure. I love having the experience of a real world job.” – Sixth grade student and JA BizTown employee
  • “I want to be a chemical engineer after college. I learned the importance of saving money for college; I will need to save hard because I will need over four years of it.” – Seventh grade student participating in JA’s Economics for Success program

Junior Achievement’s educational impact would not be possible without the volunteers and financial resources made possible by the local community. Please consider volunteering with JA or using your AZ tax credit to support JA students!

For more success stories from across Arizona, visit the Expect More Excellence Tour.