A Publication of WTVP

What does the world of work look like to teenagers? How can they effectively navigate the changing career landscape when the jobs they may ultimately hold don’t even exist yet? How do kids perceive their futures and pursue their dreams, and how should we best prepare them?

Junior Achievement took the entrepreneurial pulse of American teens with its 2009 “Teens and Entrepreneurship” poll. The poll gauges teen interest in business ownership, their opinions about the role of entrepreneurship training in our education system and when it should be taught.

The results of the poll indicate that an overwhelming majority of U.S. teens—92 percent of those surveyed—believe that entrepreneurial skills should be taught in college or earlier. The survey defined entrepreneurial skills as “taking the initiative and assuming risk to create value for the company or business, either as an owner of your own business or in your place of work.” The survey also found that 51 percent of teens would like to start their own businesses someday.

However, perhaps reflecting the current challenging economic climate, 88 percent felt it would be “difficult but possible” or “somewhat challenging” to do so. In addition, nearly half of the survey participants—46 percent—felt that “during grades K-12” was the best time to learn entrepreneurial essentials.

These findings underscore the need for more widespread entrepreneurship education in schools, so that students are better equipped with skills such as leadership, problem solving and critical thinking, which are increasingly seen as keys to success in today’s global, knowledge-based economy.

Junior Achievement has unveiled its newest program, JA Be Entrepreneurial, in which high school students start and run their own business ventures through hands-on activities with the support of classroom volunteers. Junior Achievement has always been in the business of entrepreneurship education. This research shows that there is a strong demand among teens for our programs. iBi