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Teens lack of retirement Knowledge Should Scare You

Think about a teen that you know. How much do you think he or she knows about retirement? Where have they, if at all, learned about the topic of saving for their future after they retire from their career?

These questions were the driving force behind Junior Achievement’s (JA) 2018 Teens and Retirement survey.

Overview:

From August 13th and August 20th of 2018, Junior Achievement USA, American International Group, Inc. (AIG), and Wakefield Research conducted an online survey focused on teens understanding of saving for their future retirement.

Retirement Findings (according to Teens)

Presented by: American International Group, Inc. (AIG) 

JA Teens & Retirement Methodological Notes

The JA/AIG Survey was conducted by Wakefield Research (www.wakefieldresearch.com) among 1,000 nationally representative U.S. teens, ages 13-18, who are not currently enrolled in college, between August 13 and August 20, 2018, using an email invitation and an online survey.  Results of any sample are subject to sampling variation. The magnitude of the variation is measurable and is affected by the number of interviews and the level of the percentages expressing the results. For the interviews conducted in this particular study, the chances are 95 in 100 that a survey result does not vary, plus or minus, by more than 3.1 percentage points from the result that would be obtained if interviews had been conducted with all persons in the universe represented by the sample.

Hispanic Heritage Month: Hispanic Entrepreneurs

Hispanic Heritage Month celebrates the histories, cultures, and contributions of Latin-Americans from September 15thto October 15th. Junior Achievement is sharing the stories of Hispanic entrepreneurs who are making an impact in today’s business landscape. 

 

Image by Carlos Meléndez / Google+

Carlos Meléndez- Co-founder & COO of Wovenware

Electrical Engineering graduate from the University of Puerto Rico Mayaguez Campus, Carlos Meléndez took a detour from his graduate degree from the University of Puerto Rico School of Law to pursue his talent in software engineering. In 2003, Meléndez became the COO and co-founder of Wovenware, a software company that specialized in artificial intelligence, deep learning, machine learning and more! 

 

 

Image by CQfluency

Elisabete Miranda– President & CEO of CQ Fluency 

Elisabete Miranda learned from experience that the English language is a struggle for those who don’t speak it, which sparked her to launch her business, CQ Fluency. The communications company focuses on facilitating “real connections and true cultural understanding between people who don’t speak the same language.” Through their reliable translation and cultural adaptation services, their multicultural tools equip their clients to communicate to a diverse audience. 

 

Image by Medium

Tricia Martinez – Founder & CEO of Wala

Known for her knowledge in cash transfer solutions in areas like Africa, to her development of an investment fund for underserved markets, Tricia Martinez is an international expert in behavioral economics. After many entrepreneurial and economic endeavors, Ms. Martinez was inspired to test “incentives models” to influence financial behaviors. It was at this point that Martinez created Wala. As advertised on the Wala site,Wala is a “zero-fee money app” that aims to guide its users towards financial freedom. 

 

To discover more influential Hispanic business founders, click here.

 

Hispanic Heritage Month: Hispanic Business Leaders

Hispanic Heritage Month is a time to recognize and celebrate the histories, cultures, and contributions of Latin-American from September 15th to October 15th. The celebration started as just a week in 1968 by President Johnson and was later expanded into a month by President Reagan in 1988.  During this time of celebration, we, Junior Achievement, want to take a moment to recognize some of the most influential (and successful) Hispanic business leaders in America today.

 

Geisha Williams – President & CEO of PG&E

In 1967 Geisha Williams and her parents came to the United States from Cuba. While she didn’t speak English, Williams was establishing her work ethic to achieve her present-day success. She watched as her father saved enough money to purchase a grocery store in New Jersey, which later expanded into Florida. Williams graduated with an engineering degree from the University of Miami and became the first in her family to receive a college education. She fell in love with the energy industry after she held a summer job at a local power company. Through the “power of mentorship”, Williams joined PG&E in 2007. A decade later, she was named the President and CEO. 

 

 

 

“A mentor gives you the straight scoop and they look you in the eye and if you have a great mentor and — I’ve had the privilege of having great mentors in my life — they will tell you how it is.” – Geisha Williams

 

Pedro J. Pizarro – President & CEO of Edison International

How does one become the president of one of the country’s largest electric utility companies? Hard work and moving up the ladder. Before Pedro Pizarro was the President & CEO of Edison International, he was the Director of Strategic Planning in 1999. He was then elected as Vice President of Technology Business Development the following year. In 2001, he became the Vice President of Strategy and Business Development and General Manager of Edison Carrier Solutions. From October 2014 to May 2016, Pizarro served as President of Edison International and then in October of 2016, he became Chief Executive Officer.

 

 

 

“My philosophy for building an exceptional business is simple: Hire, retain and promote exceptional people, and create an environment where every team member feels like an owner.” - Pedro J. Pizarro

 

Michele Docharty – Co-Head of Global Synthetics Products Distribution / Global Head of Corporate Access, Securities Division, Goldman Sachs

After graduating from Georgetown University with a BSBA (Bachelor of Science in Business Administration) in 1989, Docharty became a Financial Analyst before holding sales positions within the US and Latin America. In 1999, she was made Managing Director and then in 2010 she was made partner. Her ambition within the workplace is as impressive as her passions outside, where she is a member of the Diversity Committee of the Americas and has actively engaged in diversity initiatives at Goldman Sachs, as well as participated within the Alliance of Multicultural women.

 

“I strongly believe, without question, that diversity is very good for business. We need different perspectives and skills to really maximize revenue for the firm and to keep our culture best in class.” – Michele Docharty

 

While these are just a few business leaders who are changing the world, there are far more. To discover them, click here

Soft Skills 101: Communication

Have you ever stopped to think what messages you’re communicating as you sit in front of your computer or while you’re stuck in traffic? While you may not be conscious of your nonverbal signals, others around you are decoding your messages.

Today, hiring managers and recruiters have placed communication skills at the top of their desired employee skills. By rank, these are the top 10 communication skills they are looking for:

1.     (Active) Listening

-       Communication is not possible without one of the parties digesting and processing what is being said or shown. As a member of the audience, it’s crucial that you pay close attention to what the other person is saying, asking questions when you feel confused, and even paraphrasing back to the speaker to provide more clarification.

2.     Nonverbal Communication

-       This would have to be one of the stealthiest communication styles. Most of the time we cross our arms, slouch in our chair, or even continue with a text or email without considering what we are communicating. Instead, work on your eye contact with who is speaking, show you are able to have an open dialogue by keeping your arms placed in your lap.

3.     Clarity and Concision

-       We all know someone who loves to talk. In turn, it makes those around him or her feel as if their time is not respected as well as makes it difficult for anyone else to engage in the conversation. Make sure you’re keeping the road a two-way street by keeping what you have to say short, sweet and simple.

4.     Friendliness

-       The way we welcome someone with a smile or with an upbeat and sincere tone in voice increases the likelihood that an individual will want to speak to you again. Should your interaction not be face to face or over the phone, you can make yourself seem friendlier and welcoming by adding a genuine side-note to an email such as saying, “I hope you had a great weekend!”

5.     Confidence

-       Displaying confidence is more than just walking with perfect posture and standing tall when speaking to others. Confidence can be shown through a serious (but approachable) tone of voice or by merely ensuring what you are saying comes across as a statement, not a question.

6.     Empathy

-       Empathy does not come easy during a heated discussion; yet, it is essential to remember effective communication incorporates respect and openness. The next time you disagree with someone, acknowledge where they are coming from and express your point of view in a calm, clear manner.

7.     Open-Mindedness

-       The beauty of communication is the ability to share ideas, opinions, feelings and more! The only way to absorb these elements is by being willing to comprehend and consider what another person is telling you.

8.     Respect

-       This concept can be harder than it looks. Different cultures and environments make it challenging to be respectful in communication. For example, in grade-school, you can recall having to raise your hand to answer or ask a question. As you made your way into the workplace, you found that you no longer need to raise your hand to speak. The environment in which you were in determined how you were to communicate.

9.     Feedback

-       In the workplace, it is crucial that all associates can take criticism AND positive feedback from their managers. Instead of viewing negative feedback as an unacceptance of you or your work, look at it as a way for you to get better.

10.  Picking the Right Medium

-       Finally, choosing the right channel to discuss topics is crucial. You wouldn’t text your boss to discuss a promotion, would you? It’s important to know what methods of communication are appropriate for the subject at hand.

 

Think you are a communication Rockstar? Try one of the following tests to find out!

 

Want to see how JA is helping to promote soft skills, like communication? Check out JA Career Success.

An Inside Look at JA Program Development

From financial literacy and work readiness to entrepreneurship, Junior Achievement (JA) provides countless programs to equip today’s youth with skills that will assist in their successes tomorrow.

To get a better idea of how we are creating our programming, we pulled in our Senior Vice President of Education & Learning Technologies, Mary Catherine (MC) Desrosiers for an interview. In her role, MC has oversight of the education group, managing the blended transformation and directing ideation, design, implementation, and evaluation of new program and learning technology.

Q: What is your job role?

Senior Vice President, Education and Learning Technologies

Q: How long have you been with JA?

4 years

Q: How long does it take to create and launch a program/learning experience?

A program doesn’t have a set amount of time to create and launch.  What’s most important are the stages that we go through in order to conceive of and create a new program.  From the time we start researching until the time we launch a pilot, it’s typically a year.

Q: What stages are needed / used from start to implementation?

Discovery, Design, Production, Launch, Implementation, and Evaluation.

Q: How are JA programs/learning experiences developed?

MC: We start by identifying real, high-priority opportunities.  Then we lay the foundation for success for a specific opportunity through user and market research that identifies unmet needs and clarifies our goals, scope, and audience needs.  We undergo a process of discovery at a strategic and program level, meaning that we are constantly evaluating our market and our users and deciding what we need to teach and to whom.  That research informs our decisions about which programs to develop, why we should develop them, and whose needs we can meet.  For each program we develop, we undergo a specific discovery process and use design thinking to develop our prototypes.

During our design phase, we focus on creating a program vision, understanding specific users’ needs, and describing a new experience that is engaging and promises to demonstrate the desired learning outcomes. Design has two parts: Concept Design and Prototyping; and Program and Content Design.

During concept design and prototyping, we make ideas tangible and test them with the audiences and other stakeholders.  The result of user testing may be that one concept is a clear winner, that elements of both are successful, or that another idea emerges—or that we need to rethink.  During program design, we work through the user journey and define the requirements for each user group.  We work through our technical architecture and specifications, figure out the “look and feel” of the program, design an assessment and evaluation strategy.  After all that is finished, we can start writing and developing and creating the learning materials for our students, volunteers, and educators.                                                                                                            

Q: What factors or elements are considered?

There are a lot of factors considered in each phase of our process.  I’ll name a few.  As we do our strategic discovery, we investigate general and education market trends, the latest learning research, the competition, state standards, and trends in learning experiences in technology.  We consider our diverse audiences and their needs, the trends or development in a specific area of content, and the various learning environments in which our content may be delivered. 

Q: How do you go about testing?

We start with the end in mind, so we are always working toward a goal or plan that can be tested.  Production is an iterative process:  testing and revising are ongoing, with each round of testing informing the next steps in development.  We use both lean product development and rapid innovation testing. By the time we get to alpha testing, we have the first version of the entire program, the technology architecture is finalized, and the programmers have integrated the technology that will enhance program delivery.

We pilot all of our programs.  Field testing and providing support to the JA Areas during implementation are critical to the success of JA programs.  During the implementation phase, the team, led by JA USA Field Program Services, tests all components of the program with selected JA Area pilot sites (beta test), creates all training materials, and prepares implementation guidelines for the JA Areas.

A formative evaluation is designed and used to improve the program, especially when it is still being developed.   During Design, Production, and Implementation, we collect and analyze qualitative data to understand how well a program is working and ways we might improve it.

During beta testing, the JA evaluation group conducts a formal formative evaluation that explores how well the program elements work and align with intended learning objectives. 

 A “launch impact evaluation” describes the assessment we conduct on a newly-developed blended program during the pilot phase/alpha testing.  For kit-based programs, we continue to refer to Phase 1 as a formative evaluation. 

When all the components are complete and tested, we fully launch a program to the JA Areas.  The JA Areas recruit and train volunteers and work with schools to deliver the program. 

But our testing doesn’t stop once the program is in the field.  Once we formally launch a program to the JA network, we begin a summative evaluation designed to present conclusions about the merit or worth of an intervention and recommendations about whether it should be retained, altered, or eliminated.  

A “comprehensive impact evaluation” describes the summative evaluation of a blended program that is conducted after the learning environment has stabilized.  It measures student learning gains, changes in perceptions and attitudes, and other meaningful dimensions of interest.

Q: Who do you consult with when developing a program?

We consult with subject matter experts in content areas as well as people who have expertise in working with learners of different ages.  We consult with teachers, industry leaders, and our JA Area partners, particularly our pilot sites, but we seek to get information from our R&D’s too.  And last, but certainly not least, we consult with students.  We speak to kids to get their feedback and involve them in our design thinking process.

Q: What changes in the education / lesson planning industry have you (or your team) had to navigate?

The education marketplace is continually changing.  Incorporating technologies into blended programming while still meeting the needs of classrooms without technology has been important. Incorporating evolving technologies like Augmented Reality or keeping pace with educational trends such as project-based learning, the flipped classroom, brain-based learning research, and cognitive science keep us busy. 

Q: What changes do you anticipate for the future?

I anticipate a focus on self-efficacy and competency-based learning.

Q: How has the integration of innovative technology like VR changed how students learn with JA programs?

We continue to consider ways in which we can provide simulated experiences, like JA Finance Park Virtual or the small augmented reality experiences in JA Our City.   Since we’re preparing students for “the real world,” the virtual world holds some exciting possibilities for us.

 

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