Partnering to Prepare Maine's Future Workforce:
How JMG Students benefit from Junior Achievement's Business Challenge
Junior Achievement of Maine chatted with JMG Master Specialist Jessica Porter from Lisbon High School this week to learn more about her involvement with the JA Titan Challenge, and why she sees it as such an important experience for her students.
JA Titan Challenge Overview
The JA Titan Challenge is a day-long business competition that uses an online simulation program to engage high school students from across Maine in real-world business scenarios. Titan is designed to unleash creativity, test leadership, and demonstrate the competitive nature of the free enterprise system in a global marketplace. Young entrepreneurs work with business mentors sharing their own work and life experience as they practice running a global business in a competitive, high-tech marketplace.
JMG Master Specialist Jessica Porter Shares her Perspective:
The Titan Challenge has been surprising to me as an educator how it has become such a powerful motivation tool for my JMG students. My students not only have found unexpected success over the past two years as Regional Winners, they now want to win the whole competition and get others excited for the challenge!
The financial simulation game challenges teams to run a business in a fast-paced, real world atmosphere. My students decide who is best suited to be the CEO, CFO, and COO within their business to ensure success. This invites them to look at their strengths as team members, as well as how the process can help them gain confidence through communicating, listening to one another, attention to details, time management, and much more. Conversations on customer service and what employers are looking for in potential employees come up naturally. Each position requires specific skills, such as math and data note taking from the Chief Financial Officer; attention to operational details on the computer from the Chief Operations Officer; and, the ability to make final and sometimes difficult decisions as the Chief Executive Officer. Students became aware of the personal challenges they face as team members and realized they have to rely on one another and push through adversity to reach their main goal.
During the day of Titan, my students have toured local businesses to gain knowledge of a specific industry, while others across the state toured universities. My students quickly found that they were a part of a much bigger event statewide and found confidence and pride in this fact as the competition streamed live throughout the day. Along with these invaluable traits, my students have been matched with caring and knowledgeable mentors from both Tyler Technologies
and IDEXX Laboratories
(two of the business that host students at their facilities for the competition each year).
My advice for other JMG specialists; even if it’s one group, take them and be their biggest cheerleader on the day. Also, work with JA and find a mentor to help prior to the event day as many bank and credit unions want to help our students in any way they can.
I will never forget when each of the Lisbon teams won the regional competition on those days. They looked at me with surprise as their names were called, and, then ultimately with pride as they went to accept their title.
"When we won our region I was so surprised. It felt really great to work on a goal and to work together as a team to bring the win home!" - Junior JMG student at Lisbon High School.
It is rare these days for students to truly get out of their comfort zone, be surrounded by caring professionals that want to see them succeed, and in the end, find success in something they didn’t see possible.
This year's JA Titan Challenge takes place on Wednesday, February 27th at seven locations across the state. With 350 high school students participating statewide, 150 of those competing are JMG students. To learn more about the event, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.