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A Publication of WTVP

Eighteen business professionals chose to spend a day with 490 grade schoolers at Rankin and Wilson School April 25 for Junior Achievement’s “JA in a Day.” The 18 professionals who became JA Classroom Consultants are to be congratulated, but so are the companies that released them for the day, including community icons Caterpillar, Commerce Bank, CEFCU, and State Farm.

A one-hour training equips the adults with confidence not only on the Junior Achievement materials, but also on the age group to which they’ll present. They then mix their own life experience into the JA program, which allows them to bring the real world into the classroom naturally.

Why do these companies and professionals participate in Junior Achievement? Here are some of their answers:
• Our public speaking skills are improved.
• The time invested is manageable—one business day a year.
• Public relations for our company and our profession.
• Increased knowledge on educational issues.
• Interaction with students.
• Contentment of acting on my values and beliefs.
• Develop, grow, and inspire future workforce and business leaders.
• Give back to the community.
• Create business and personal relationships.

Companies are recognizing Junior Achievement as a team-building and employee-bonding experience. National City has embraced this concept, sending a dozen employees to Whittier School for JA in a Day. Their employees can give novelty items to hundreds of students. Many undoubtedly will discuss their JA experience with their parents. While National City is more concerned with enriching student achievement, a pleasant by-product may be new customers or future employees.

Speaking of students, they enjoy Junior Achievement because they’re engaged in a variety of interactive activities, presented by someone they don’t normally see—someone who presents first-hand insight into the “real world.”

The teacher, while still in the classroom, gets a break and is able to leverage JA in a Day after the Classroom Consultant is gone. The school is delighted with the free curriculum, getting new people from the community into their facility, and the media exposure.

More people from all walks of life are realizing the world of work has changed, but the world of education hasn’t. That’s a problem because students enter the workforce unprepared. Educators and the business community are trying to redefine the learning process, which is why approaches like Junior Achievement’s are being embraced by both parties. IBI

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