Lexington, KY — Junior Achievement USA® and the Taco Bell® Foundation for Teens™ have partnered to inspire, educate and raise graduation rates among London and Corbin high school students.  JA of the Bluegrass is one of 13 communities to receive Taco Bell Foundation for Teens’ generous grant to implement career-focused education among area schools.

In addition to the $8,300 grant provided by Taco Bell® Foundation for Teens, schools will implement the JA Career Success™ program, which helps students identify their desired careers and better understand how to develop the skills necessary to achieve a successful life. Through the curriculum, students learn how to effectively conduct a job search, how best to respond to common interview questions, and how positively building their personal brand can translate to a rewarding career. Program activities include interactive challenges through the use of JA’s digital app, JA Success Park.

“The United States has seen an increase in high school graduation rates, but there is still more we can do. In our area, work readiness is a focus of our employers, but we have to get the students to graduate so we can prepare them to enter the workforce,” says Lynn Hudgins, President of JA of the Bluegrass. “It is so important to teach this generation about the value of education and work readiness, so they can become financially independent, professional young people.”

Following completion of the seven-week program, JA of the Bluegrass and Taco Bell will host a celebration event where participating students will have the opportunity to sign the Graduate for Más promise. By signing the promise, the students will join nearly 200,000 students nationwide who also have made the promise to graduate high school.

“Taco Bell is committed to our teens and their futures. We want to empower these young leaders to reach their full potential and help them understand what success could look like,” said Marjorie Perlman of Taco Bell. “We want to see as many London and Corbin students graduate from high school and pursue their dreams.”

Graduate for Más provides tools and resources to teens while tracking their progress towards graduation and life goals. By making the promise to graduate, the Taco Bell® Foundation for Teens and JA of the Bluegrass will help equip high school students with the tools and tips needed to be successful in school and post-graduation and reward them for keeping their commitment.  

Other JA Areas receiving grants from  the Taco Bell® Foundation for Teens includes JA of Jackson & Josephine Counties (Medford, Ore.); Charleston, S.C.; Toledo, Ohio; Columbia, S.C.; El Paso, Texas; Colorado Springs, Colo.; Salisbury, Md.; Louisville, Ky.; Los Angeles; Johnstown, Penn.; Cincinnati, Ohio; and Chicago.

For more information about the Graduate for Más promise, please visit: www.graduateformas.com. For more information on JA Career Success, visit www.ja.org.

About Taco Bell® Foundation for Teens ™

Taco Bell Foundation Inc., also known as Taco Bell® Foundation for Teens™, is a not-for profit

501(c)(3) public benefit corporation committed to building 21st century leaders through its programs, partnerships, and direct financial assistance. Since 1992, the Foundation has served over 2 million teens in 6,000 communities across the country where Taco Bell restaurants have a presence. Through the support of our customers, franchisees, employees and vendor partners over the last 20 years, the Foundation has awarded more than $45 million in grants and scholarships focused on education and career readiness. For more information on the Foundation and its commitment to teens – Taco Bell team members, friends and future leaders – visit tacobellforteens.org, and find us on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/TacoBell4Teens.

About Taco Bell Corp.

Taco Bell Corp., a subsidiary of Yum! Brands, Inc., (NYSE: YUM), is the nation's leading Mexican-inspired quick service restaurant. Taco Bell serves made- to- order and customizable tacos, burritos, and specialties such as the exclusive Doritos® Locos Tacos, gourmet- inspired Cantina Bell® Menu and lower calorie Fresco Menu. The company encourages customers to “Live Más,®” both through its food and in ways such as its Feed The Beat® music program and its nonprofit organization, the Taco Bell Foundation for Teens™. Taco Bell and its more than 350 franchise organizations have nearly 6,000 restaurants across the United States that proudly serve more than 36 million customers every week.