JA In The News | Junior Achievement of Alaska

JA is Really Newsworthy!

From JA Student to Volunteer Rockstar

Junior Achievement (JA) programs are facilitated by local volunteers ranging from parents to business leaders.  Each March, Junior Achievement presents the President’s Volunteer Service Award, which highlights the time contribution individuals representing their employers have given to Junior Achievement. While no volunteer experience is the same, Ericka Williams, a JA alumna and volunteer, gave us an inside look as to what JA has done for her, as well as how she is giving back to the organization.

 

What has your story or journey through JA from a child to where you are now been like?

During my senior year of high school, my mom opened the local newspaper and noticed an advertisement for high school students to participate in the JA Fellows Program. I immediately signed up because the program would help to cultivate the skills that I would need to use for my future Accounting program. Team collaboration, critical thinking and entrepreneurship were a few of the focal points within the program and they are skills that I have been able to carry with me from then until now. 

After becoming a “JA Kid” in 2007, I was honored to receive a college scholarship from JA in Savannah, Georgia. I knew that JA was an organization that was invested in my educational and professional growth, thus it was imperative that I began volunteering to assist in imparting financial wisdom on our next generation of leaders. During my freshman year of college at Savannah State University (SSU), I began volunteering at local elementary and middle schools. Eventually, I was able to convince my fellow SSU classmates that JA is a great organization to volunteer with. With a joint effort between SSU and JA in Savannah, we were able to place 30 volunteers at 3 different elementary schools, which impacted over 600 students in 2010. JA in Savannah never allowed my continuous hard work to go unnoticed, and in 2011 the office recognized me as the John Hodges Volunteer of the Year.

 

How has JA helped you grow professionally?

Currently as an Internal Auditor, and previously as an External Auditor, skills such as: how to work in a team, multitasking, planning and executing tasks have been crucial to my career development. These are all items that the JA Fellows program assisted in instilling in me.   

While searching for internships in college and deciding on the company that I would kick-start my post graduate school career with, it was essential that I worked for organizations that were socially responsible to their communities. And if the company had a relationship with their local JA office(s) it was an added bonus for me. Thankfully, my past and currents jobs have all been heavily involved with JA so it provides me and my colleagues that chance to interact with local students a few times during the school year. 

 

What has been your favorite moment while volunteering for Junior Achievement? What inspired you to become a JA volunteer?

Recently, I have been drawn to the 2nd grade “JA Our Community” curriculum, which teaches students about businesses, products/services and how finances are used in our everyday lives. Within lesson 3, the students learn about paying taxes. All students were given a job description card and subsequently paid $5 for their hard work in the class community. At this point the students were screaming, “We’re RICH!”

As the volunteer, I became the Tax Collector and informed everyone that they had no choice but to pay me/the government $2 in taxes. One student screamed at me, “You’re a ROBBER! You shouldn’t take our money like that.” This became the most impactful teachable moment, for me, because I had the pleasure of explaining to the students that their parents/guardians have to pay taxes on their hard-earned money on a weekly and/or biweekly basis. From that moment on the students had a better understanding of how money works within our communities. Thankfully, the lessons are broken down in a way that the students can remember so that they can share what they learned with their families and others.

These are the moments that make me laugh out loud, smile and continuously volunteer because I can see their imaginary lightbulbs flicker and truly understand how our World operates.   

Presidential Volunteer Service Award

On March 12, 2019, Junior Achievement USA will honor 44 organizations with the 2017-2018 U.S. President’s Volunteer Service Awards (PVSA). The organizations receiving the awards provided Junior Achievement with significant volunteer resources during the 2017-2018 school year. The recipients will be recognized at an awards ceremony and, as part of Junior Achievement’s Centennial Celebration, will participate in the ringing of the Closing Bell at the New York Stock Exchange as part of the JA Volunteer Summit, supported by American Express in New York, NY.

History of PVSA

In 2003, President George W. Bush established the President's Council on Service and Civic Participation (the Council) to recognize the valuable contributions volunteers make in communities and to encourage more people to serve. The Council created the President's Volunteer Service Award program as a way to thank and honor individuals who, by their demonstrated commitment and example, inspire others to engage in volunteer service. In 2006, Junior Achievement became an official certifying organization for this award, which recognizes corporations with a U.S. presence that provide volunteers to teach JA programs anywhere in the world.

Award Recipients

The following organizations are the recipients of the 2017-2018 PVSA, as determined by Junior Achievement USA:

Gold Award Recipients (15,000 Volunteer Hours or More)

  • Accenture LLP
  • AT&T
  • Bank of America
  • Capital One
  • Citi
  • Deloitte
  • Ernst & Young LLP
  • HSBC Bank USA, N.A. and HSBC Holdings plc
  • KPMG LLP
  • MetLife
  • National Credit Union Foundation
  • PwC
  • SunTrust Banks, Inc.
  • TD Bank, N.A.
  • The Dow Chemical Company
  • Wells Fargo

Silver Award Recipients (10,000 Volunteer Hours or More)

  • Barclays
  • GE
  • JPMorgan Chase & Co.
  • Santander Bank, N.A.
  • U.S. Bancorp

 

Bronze Award Recipients (5,000 Volunteer Hours or More)

  • ADP, LLC
  • BMO Harris Bank
  • Boys & Girls Clubs of America
  • Broward College
  • Caterpillar Inc.
  • ExxonMobil
  • FedEx
  • General Motors
  • Goldman Sachs
  • Huntington Bancshares
  • Jackson
  • ManpowerGroup Inc.
  • Marsh & McLennan Companies, Inc.
  • Palo Alto College
  • PepsiCo
  • Regions Bank
  • Robert Morris University-Illinois
  • SAP America
  • Starbucks
  • State Farm
  • Voya Financial
  • Woodforest National Bank
  • YMCA of the USA

Navigating a Multigenerational Workforce

How many generational labels can you count? There’s the “entitled Millennials”, the “un-tech savvy Baby Boomers” and the list goes on and on. But did you know that each generation has something to offer to their team and to the company they work for?

For the first time in history, there are 4 generations working alongside one another. Each generation comes various strengths, but they also can bring disruption in how employees (or colleagues) operate within their workplace.

As Generation Z, those born after 1996, enter the workforce it will become more crucial than ever to learn how to navigate the generational differences within your office. Through understanding and attentiveness, co-workers can tap into one another’s strengths, varied experiences and world view to boost a company’s bottom line.

Here are the primary key-points you need to understand if you are entering or returning to the workplace or are currently working within a “melting pot” of generations.

 

Baby Boomers

Born between: 1946-1964

Key Traits: Enjoy mentoring and take pride in a strong work ethic

Historic Events That Shaped the Generation: Vietnam War, Civil Rights Movement, Kennedy assassination, Woodstock

Baby Boomers have extensive work experience and have worked up the ranks to achieve professional success. Through their decades of work, they are known to be hardworking and motivated by their position in a company and perks provided. They typically believe the generations born after them need to “pay their dues”. As this generation experienced a large “boom” of men and women seeking work, they tend to be more competitive within the work environment. Today, they make up 27% of the U.S. workforce.

What they Value in a Work Environment:

Baby Boomers tend to be workaholics but have a lot of work experience they are willing to share with those around them. For those who come from subsequent generations, seek to learn from your more seasoned counterparts—they are wanting to take you under their wing.

 

Gen X-ers

Born between: 1965-1979

Key Traits: Independent workers, innovative, and strong communication skills

Historic Events That Shaped the Generation: Fall of the Berlin Wall, Energy Crisis, the death of Kurt Cobain, the Challenger Disaster, the rise of the personal computer

While this generation marks the period of a birth decline after the baby boom, they are expected to outnumber Baby Boomers in the workplace by 2028. Individuals from this generation value work-life balance and are very flexible and adaptable to change. Of this generation, more than 60 percent attended college and tend to be more “ethnically diverse” and more educated than those before them. Typically, they prefer to work independently and seek environments with fewer rules that may constrain their work.

What they Value in a Work Environment:

Gen X-ers value their work but also the time they spend with their family. When they are “off the clock”, they are out of their work-mindset and focused on loved-ones. Within the workplace, they strive to communicate to and be communicated with directly by their leaders and colleagues.

 

Millennials

Born between: 1980-1995

Key Traits: Tech-savvy, collaborative, and focused on putting their time and effort into “the greater good”, seek meaningful work, want to learn new skills

Historic Events That Shaped the Generation: 9/11, Great Recession, school shootings, rise and popularity of social media

As of 2017, there were a total of 56 million workers who were born between 1981 and 1996. This generation has been connected to certain negative stereotypes and clichés. Millennials grew up in a time where collaboration and teamwork were emphasized in school; group projects were more popular than individual work. They tend to appreciate a work environment where a collaboration of members is encouraged while each member has his or her defined role. Millennials have grown up with technology and are considered “electronically literate” and will rely on various online platforms to assist in their daily work.

What they Value in a Work Environment:

Millennials value the ability to work in an environment that is diverse and flexible but where they can also make a difference. Working with colleagues that understand their tech-savvy mentalities and desire to make a difference in the world will assist in the blending of this generation among others.

 

Gen Z-ers

Born: After 1996

Key Traits: Digitally fluent, practical, flourish in diverse work environments

Historic Events That Shaped the Generation: Rise of social media, invention of the iPhone, online gaming, cyberbullying, reality TV, text-messaging, the Great Recession

While Gen Z-ers share some of the same historical influencers as Millennials, they have their dominant traits that stand out for their generation. It has been predicted that this generation will work 17 different jobs, in 5 separate careers and live in 15 homes during their lifetime. Bloomberg estimated that they will surpass Millennials in 2019 as the largest generation at 32 percent of the population. While they grew up in a time of social media, Gen-Z focuses more on the quality of those they are connected with and building deeper and meaningful relationships.

What they Value in a Work Environment:

This generation values competitive wages, mentorship, and stability within the workplace. Typically, they are motivated by the ability to discover on their own terms and desire gratitude for their contributions to their work environment. Leaders should be aware that this generation desire to participate in on-the-job trainings in order to advance their skills as well as seek opportunities that will allow upward opportunities.

While each generation brings their own “personality” to the workforce, it’s important to remember the generational values to create a cohesive company that can utilize each generation’s skillsets to its advantage.

To learn more about Generation Z’s career aspirations, check out the JA Teens & Career Survey

Melissa: From a JA Student in Ecuador to a JA Volunteer in Tennessee

Junior Achievement – Ecuador launched the “Bancos en Accion” Program in the year 2000 in several High Schools across the country. The curriculum covered several courses delivered in a class environment, but also challenged High Schools in the country to compete for a chance to participate in the Latin American Bancos en Accion (Banks in Action) competition, sponsored by Citigroup, (Citi) in Buenos Aires, Argentina. 

I was one of the 11th graders who had the opportunity to participate in the program, and one of the three lucky winners who represented Ecuador in the Latin American competition. Junior Achievement (JA) taught me about key principles of the banking industry and the challenges of successfully operating a bank in a competitive environment. One of the key concepts was to learn how banks operate, recognize the characteristics of banking services and products, and evaluate potential career opportunities in banking.

I was a teenager then, and although I truly enjoyed learning, winning, and traveling to another country, little did I know that almost one decade later I would start my career in Jacksonville, FL working for non-other than Citi. The idea of Citi being the bank that opened its doors to High school student a long time ago in support of financial literacy never crossed my mind, until I learned that Citi was still a proud sponsor of Junior Achievement.

Today, almost 20 years since my participation in Junior Achievement’s Bancos en Accion, and over 13 years of working at Citi, I am a true believer and passionate advocate of the JA curriculum and its programs.  

Junior Achievement taught me at a young age the importance of learning about Financial Literacy, and Citi has continued to provide opportunities to broaden my knowledge. I am an active Junior Achievement volunteer serving the community by teaching the JA curriculum in Elementary and Middle Schools in the Tri Cities, TN area.

Making Your Tax Refund Last

The notification of a check being directly deposited into your bank account has never been more satisfying than it is during tax season. You’ve worked all year to see what you will get back, and with the average tax refund being about $3,000, why shouldn’t you be excited?

You can now “splurge” a little, buy that TV you’ve had your eye on for the past year or blow it all on a tropical vacation!

Sorry to burst your money bubble, but new research has revealed Americans are doing far LESS exciting things with their refunds.

According to a survey conducted by GOBrankingRates, over a third (38%) of the millennials surveyed plan on paying off their debt. As the average millennial has upwards of $32,000 in personal debt (not including home mortgages), it should come as a relief to know they are putting their financial futures first.

The tax refund runner-up? Coming in at 14% of those surveyed-- making a major purchase like a car! Followed by investing at 13%, and splurging on a luxury item came in last place at a low 2%.

While you’re the only one that can determine the best way to spend your refund, here are a few ways you can use your refund for your own good:

Emergency Fund

While this is not the most exciting option, it will make your life easier in the long run! It is recommended that an emergency fund has at least six months of living expenses.

Not sure how much to save? Click !

Pay off that Debt

Not only will you increase your financial stability once your debt is paid off, but you can reduce the debt-stress you’ve been feeling! The interest that you are paying on your monthly bills will be reduced leaving you with more financial security. If you’re unable to pay all of your debt off, start putting more towards your monthly payments to get to the financial finish line sooner.

Invest and Feel Good About the Rest

The early bird gets the worm doesn’t just apply to starting your day off earlier than everyone else, it also applies to money! With all the various ways you can invest, it would be unfair for us to say to pick one over another. Before you throw money at anything, it’s important to do your research and understand what type of a risk-taker you are. For those looking to start in their first investment venture, check out for beginners!

As easy as it is to blow the money that has been piling up over the past year, let this be a reminder to you of the biggest financial goal you should have—fiscal security that will last more than just a season! 

Got a working teen in the family? Have him or her check out how to file a tax return on JAMyWay.org!

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