Workforce Development | Junior Achievement of Central Ohio

JA & Workforce Development

Education and employer systems are not effectively aligned to develop and transition young people from school to careers. A 2018 Bloomberg Next study found that 40% of corporations and half of academic institutions believed recent graduates lacked the soft skills needed for them to succeed in the workplace.

Junior Achievement of Central Ohio (JA) is part of the solution to our region's workforce development and economic mobility needs. JA alumni, when compared to the general public, have higher levels of educational attainment, career satisfaction, financial capability, entrepreneurial activity, and household income.

Since 1950, JA has been preparing students to achieve personal success in their careers and in life with real-world learning experiences that teach our three pillars: work readiness, entrepreneurship, and financial literacy. We hone foundational skills and ignite new ways of thinking through immersive opportunities so that students can draw on their experiences and apply abstract concepts to create value for their future industries.

We know that students' enthusiasm for their education falls as they get older - a 2016 Gallop poll found that only 34% of high school seniors where engaged in school, compared to 74% of 5th graders. That's why JA begins intervening as early as kindergarten, helping students through our K-12 experiential programs to connect the dots between what they're learning in the classroom to the life they'll have after graduation. 

JA Program Highlights

At JA BizTown, 5th grade students work in a shop, trying to pay back a business loan by the end of the day while balancing their own checkbooks. Students learn firsthand what it takes to create and run a business, as well as personally earn and manage money. Last school year, 2,154 volunteers made JA BizTown possible.



JA Apprenticeship introduces high school seniors to how businesses work, succeed and make money through a variety of learning and career exploration opportunities. It offers partnering employers the opportunity to make connections with high school students who are actively considering their future career paths.

Thank you to our JA Apprenticeship partners: Abercrombie & Fitch, Franklin University,, and OhioHealth.

A&F Logo Franklin University OhioHealth logo


Through JA Job Shadow, students become entrepreneurial thinkers in their approach to work. In-class sessions prepare students for a visit to a professional work environment, where they will face a series of challenges administered by their workplace hosts. Students learn how to research career opportunities and the skills needed to land and keep their dream job.

Thank you to our JA Job Shadow partners: Abercrombie & Fitch, Columbia Gas of Ohio, and Microsoft.

A&F Logo Columbia Gas Microsoft logo


The JA Company Program unlocks students' entrepreneurial spirit, and challenges them to solve a problem in their community by launching a business venture.


View all of the programs we offer our area's educators.

  • "I can't think of a better gift for kids than to prepare them for success in the real world." - Aaron Bahe, Columbus City School Teacher

  • "I loved being the mayor of JA BizTown. I now have a good understanding of how busy business can be." - Gabbie Schneider, JA BizTown Student

  • "I loved my job as the CFO! It was so much fun. If I did this everyday it would be great!" - JA BizTown Student

  • "Kids are capable of more than we know. JA is a great way to demonstrate the real life skills they will all need." JA of Central Ohio Volunteer

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