JA's History

Junior Achievement was started in 1919 by Horace Moses. Moses was businessman, an industrialist who owned a paper company in Springfield, Massachusetts. He found he was constantly retraining employees on skills he felt they should already know. Mr. Moses was also inspired by the 4-H Club in his region – a hands-on learning experience for kids to learn about farm life from those who lived on farms. He wanted to start a similar program where city kids could learn the essentials of business from those who worked in offices and factories throughout the city.

He started Junior Achievement as an after-school program where kids would meet at a local site and actually start a company from scratch (similar to our "Company Program" today). Through the years JA has made several changes and today we are the largest economic education program in the United States. Our programs reach students kindergarten through twelfth grade during school hours. Volunteers from the local community serve as role models and visit a classroom 1-8 times to present the Junior Achievement programs. JA provides a comprehensive training for all new volunteers as well as the curriculum.

Locally, JA-Central Florida (JACF) has been helping students better understand business and economics for 50 years. JACF was started in Central Florida in 1961 by Linton Allen, First National Bank—now SunTrust Bank; Dr. Phillips, a renowned citrus grower; Frank Hubbard, Hubbard Construction; and G.T. Willey of the Martin Co. (now Lockheed Martin). These men with the support of the Rotary Club of Orlando launched JA and helped establish six JA companies with 150 high school students. By 1982 there were 8,000 students involved in Central Florida JA, from 5th grade through 12th. In 1993 we reached over 30,000 students and have grown steadily ever since. Today, many of the JA students of the past have become successful professionals in our community, and continue to serve as classroom volunteers to help raise the next generation of business leaders.