JA Career Connections is a multi-faceted, 9-12 grade-level initiative developed by Junior Achievement of East Central Ohio in partnership with local hiring managers and educators to help address the lack of preparedness by graduating students for effective career planning and soft skill development.  It is funded this year by grants from Synchrony Financial, The Rotary Club of Canton with underwriting by job-applications.com to create program learning videos to compliment JA Career Success™ curriculum materials.


This initiative's impact will improve the viability of an employable workforce in our community.  Utilizing business mentors to teach JA curriculum, students gain access to real-life information and guidance about job content and requirements.  Students will be inspired to shift beliefs and accept their role to prepare for their future and equip themselves with the ability to make smart academic and economic choices.


JA Career Connections is one of the key project based sequential grade-level programs supporting a Career Readiness Plan that is a collaborative effort between Canton City Schools and Junior Achievement of East Central Ohio.


Educational & Economic Development Objectives

JA Career Connections will support in-class education learning opportunities for high school students to develop:

1).  Work Readiness Skill Building:  Students in grades 9-12 will develop 21st century career readiness skills focused on taking initiative, conflict resolution, communications, problem solving, collaboration and time management as assigned by grade level utilizing JA Career Success™ in-class curriculum sessions and online career explorations tools such as JA My Way™ and JA Build Your Future® app.

      Grade 9:    Session 1:  4 C's Soft Skills desired by employers

                        Session 2:  Conflict Resolution of Work-based Scenarios

      Grade 10:  Session 3:  Teamwork & Time Management Skill Building

                        Session 5:  Work Priorities and Workforce Demands

      Grade 11:  Session 4:  Students' Self Assessment of Soft Skills

                        Session 6:  Career Exploration of High Demand Jobs

      Grade 12:  Session 7:  Personal Brand & Resume Reviews

2).  Work Based Learning of Employer Expectations:  Students in grades 9-12, as the next generation of local employees, will develop a more comprehensive knowledge about the positive work habit attributes and attitudes that hiring professionals expect from applicants.  Students will participate in Hire Me! Large Group Seminars to help make real world of work connections between how the decisions they make in high school impact their employability. 

3).  Authentic Hiring Process Practice:  Students in grade 12 will prepare and practice today's new model of job application processes. In a workforce practice venue, they will develop a resume, complete an online resume submission for review, and prepare for and participate in group mock interviews.  Just like sports provides practice fields to help athletes develop skills to compete, this learn how to develop and navigate the hiring process towards gainful employment.


Measuring Impact 

Fall 2015 Semester Results of participating students from Canton City Schools:

  • 12th Graders increased their knowledge gain about employability skills by 10%
  • 94% of 12th graders understand their choices about drug use, social media post & tattoos can affect their career.   
  • 91% of senior students felt more confident about their ability to compete in the hiring process after completing a resume and mock interview with a business mentor.  (Only 41% of 12th graders had a resume started before their senior year. Only 28% of 9th graders had a resume at the start of HS).