The lack of a prepared local workforce is a significant problem for our community and economy, and is particularly compelling in the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) fields. Students begin formulating their impressions about education and its relationship to success in life at an early age. As Junior Achievement works with students from preschool through elementary, middle school and high school, JA is in an ideal position to address the tremendous need for STEM education.
The Junior Achievement STEM Enhancement Initiative is a plan to increase exposure to STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) concepts and careers through modifications to JA's BizTown program. As JA BizTown gives central Indiana students an experience that is real to life, JA has an opportunity to naturally integrate STEM learning and awareness into the experience.
The STEM Enhancement Initiative is an intensive enhancement of the curriculum at JA BizTown, a simulated town where 4th through 6th graders practice the responsibilities of adulthood such as managing bank accounts and completing complex job tasks. Currently, JA BizTown reaches over 8,500 students per year. Studies show that the program is effective in illuminating real world operations, connecting schoolwork to life success, and increasing students' confidence in their ability to graduate from high school and pursue post-secondary education and training.
In order to implement these career exploration opportunities, we need the support of the central Indiana community. There are opportunities for involvement at multiple levels.
Volunteers - Students need the mentorship of volunteers from STEM careers to influence their time at JA BizTown. We need companies to encourage employees to give a day of their time to work with students on-site.
Shop Sponsorship - There are several JA BizTown shop opportunities for key industries. If you feel your business would like to participate by opening a storefront, the benefits are plentiful and the rewards are many. These benefits are not limited to but may include: logo placement on JA BizTown sponsored shop and monument, on www.jaindy.org, in JA e-newsletter, and recognition at JA Special Events.