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JA Launches New High School Work-Readiness Program

Junior Achievement Launches New High School Work-readiness Program To Help Close Workforce Skills Gap

August. 20, 2013

Program Expected to Reach 85,000 Students in First Year; Includes New Digital App

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo., Aug. 20, 2013 -- /PRNewswire/ -- Junior Achievement USA® today launched a new high school program, JA Career Success™, to help close the workforce skills gap. The program was underwritten by a $1.1 million grant from Accenture announced earlier this year and reflects the company's Skills to Succeed initiative, which aims to equip 500,000 people around the world by 2015 with the skills to get a job or build a business.

JA Career Success delivers both career exploration and work readiness skills through hands-on, interactive program activities, including Junior Achievement's first digital app, JA Success Park™. During its first year of implementation, the program is expected to reach 85,000 students.

"JA Career Success was created to address an unmet need among students," said Jack E. Kosakowski, president and chief executive officer of Junior Achievement USA. "In a recent survey, more than one-third of employers are unable to find the talent their organizations need. In addition to hard skills such as math and science, our young people also require 21st-century skills such as problem-solving and collaboration, to be well-rounded professionals that get, and keep, jobs in high-growth industries."

JA Career Success helps students identify their desired careers and better understand how to develop the skills necessary to achieve success. As part of 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.

The program's app, JA Success Park, aims to extend the learning opportunity, allowing students to connect within and beyond the classroom through interactive challenges. JA Success Park is designed as an amusement park where students apply their knowledge of the 4Cs (critical thinking, communication, collaboration and creativity), best business practices, good customer service and conflict resolution at each attraction to unlock fun throughout the park. The JA Success Park app is designed for Android and iPad tablets and is free of charge on Google Play and the Apple App Store.

"This effort combines skills building with technology to help students across the country access critical life and career needs," said Michael Scimo, North American human capital and diversity lead, Accenture.  "Working together, Accenture collaborated with Junior Achievement to create a scalable, digital program that will enhance the education of young people looking to connect to the workforce in a meaningful way."

JA Career Success is a high school level, kit-based program delivered through seven volunteer-taught sessions, as follows:

  • Get Hired: Critical Thinking and Creativity. Students apply critical-thinking skills to solve problems in real-life work scenarios.
  • Get Hired: Communication and Conflict Management Skills. Students apply, communication, to resolve conflicts in work-based scenarios through role playing and conflict management.
  • Get Hired: Collaboration and Creativity. Students practice collaboration and creativity, by using a team-building model referred to as the GRPI model (goals, roles & responsibilities, processes and interpersonal skills).
  • Get Hired: Strong Soft Skills. Students review in-demand soft skills and rate their own abilities, before presenting them through personal stories in a job interview workshop.
  • Know Your Work Priorities. Students learn that in the current workforce, people change jobs or careers several times over a lifetime, making it important to be prepared and adaptable.
  • Know Who's Hiring. In groups, students analyze factors to consider when researching careers: skills earned through training and education; interests in various career clusters; and specific high-growth jobs and the requirements needed to earn them.
  • Know Your Personal Brand. Students work in teams to rate the personal brand of candidates applying for a job by comparing cover letters, resumes, and digital profiles of the candidates.

For more information on JA Career Success, visit www.ja.org. To learn more about the workforce skills gap, read Junior Achievement's position paper.

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