JA Inspire

JA Inspire<sup>™</sup>
JA Inspire is more than a career fair, it brings together the business community and local schools and is designed to help launch middle school students into their futures: high school, college, and careers beyond.
The program is both classroom and event-based, and consists of three segments: 1) in-class sessions presented by the classroom teacher; 2) the hands-on JA Inspire expo; and 3) an in-class debrief. During the JA Inspire expo, students participate in hands-on activities, often using equipment or tools used on a job. The multi-hour experience is configurable to align with local industry and career opportunities.

JA Inspire is recommended for middle school students. 

Program Objectives

Students will:

  • Gain insight into career clusters that interest them.
  • Make connections with adults who have jobs in careers that interest them.
  • See the connection between high school programming choices and careers.
  • Collect information about the education required to be successful in a job.
  • Practice soft skills.


Pillars of Student Success Entrepreneurship:  Financial-Literacy:  Work-Readiness: 
Program Implementation Program Grade-Level
Blended Middle School
Program Concepts Program Skills
Introspection, self-knowledge, research, mapping skills to potential careers, goal-setting Self-assessment, utilize career resources to develop a career plan, explore post-secondary education options, explore various careers, understand employment trends and job outlook for career planning

Program Sessions

Career Planning Starts with You

Students learn about JA Inspire. Through close examination of specific skills and career clusters, they learn the key factors to investigate career planning, skills, interests, work priorities, and job outlooks.


Students will:

  • Recognize career clusters that match their skills and interests.

  • Assess their soft skills and identify need for improvement.

  • Identify industries and jobs that offer opportunities.

Making the Most of JA Inspire

Students refine a plan for the event. Encourage students to spend additional time outside of class researching the participating companies, if possible.


Students will:

  • Identify companies that they want to learn more about at the JA Inspire event. Three is a good number.

  • Prepare questions that they want to ask and practice asking them.

  • Create an elevator pitch—a statement that explains why they are interested in a company or a job and what they have to offer, and helps to connect them with the company volunteers. 

  • Express their expectations of the upcoming event.

JA Inspire, The Event

Students engaged with business volunteers to learn about skills that will be in demand when they graduate. Students participate in hands-on activities, often using actual equipment or tools the businesses' employees use on the job.


Students will:

  • Understand courses they need to take in high school.

  • Understand options for post-secondary education.

  • Learn about specific careers and the opportunities they present.

  • Understand how to chart a clear pathway to a career.

  • Become excited for their futures.

Debrief and Next Steps

Students reflect on what they have learned and identify next steps to further define their academic choices and career paths.


Students will:

  • Evaluate personal goals and priorities based on their experience at the JA Inspire event.

  • Identify next steps, including exploration of high school coursework and other research.

  • Understand relevant business communication practices.