History of JA South Central PA:

The first full-scale organizational meeting was held in June 1961. Henry D. Schmidt was elected Chairman of the Board and Loren Shinneman became the first President of the local Chapter.

It took four months to get organized, but by October of 1961, 325 students from 6 local high schools were able to meet and form the first JA companies.




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The first JA evening company in York was JABCO Specialties. The company was sponsored by P.H. Glatfelter. Pictured are the Board of Directors of JABCO Specialties 1962-1963.

Originally, JA was an after-school program designed to teach young adults how businesses are organized and operated. By providing students with positive role models and hands-on experience in running their own small businesses, JA volunteers helped prepare young people for successful careers.

The after-school program typically provided training for students to build a product and sell it in the community. This exposure to business gave a small number of students a wonderful exposure to the free enterprise system.



Students of evening companies were involved in all aspects of creating, manufacturing and selling a product. Here students of one of the first JA companies work with power equipment to produce their product 1962.





Students had the opportunity to experience first hand the real world of work and of careers. Here at the JA Bank, a student takes a deposit.


Evening company students had JA days at the York Mall.  The mall would be full of JA company stores selling their unique products.





Beginning in 1983, JA shifted its focus from after-school programs to in-school programs, and embarked on an ambitious plan to dramatically expand the scope and variety of programs offered. New educational materials were developed for grade levels K-12, and JA programs were made available to all students as part of their regular daily classroom curriculum.


Project Business was the first "in class" program offered by JA. The number of students reached began to dramatically increase as more volunteers began to participate.


Highlights on recent history:

  • Board of Directors requests National Office to expand local chartered area to include all of York, Cumberland, Adams, Dauphin and Perry counties in 1984.

  • Name officially changes from JA of York County to South Central Pennsylvania in 1985.

  • By 1986, more than 3,000 local students experience JA of South Central PA programs.

  • In the early 1990s, JA expands into local elementary programs.

  • By 1994 JA reaches more than 6,000 local students.

  • School year 2000-01, JA reaches a new record, 19,000 local students.

  • In January 2002, JA signed the lease for its new headquarters at 610 S. George Street and February 2002 saw the beginning of renovations and construction of new office space, conference and training space, and Exchange City®.

  • In 2008, JA launched JA Finance Park, a high school based financial literacy program.

  • In 2012, JA launched the STEM Summit, a program focused on STEM careers.

  • In 2014, JA went over 40,000 students for the first time.

  • In 2014, JA launched REAL Life as a replacement from JA Finance Park and reached 2,000 students in the first year.

  • In 2015, JA launched YES! as a JA in a Day middle grades program.   This expanded our impact programs.   We reached 5,000 students in the first year.

  • In 2016, JA of Central PA merged with JA of South Central PA.  The combined organization now covers 14 counties and 52 school districts.

  • In 2017, JA reached its one-millionth student.

Today, JA is a dynamic, growing organization with more than 4,500 volunteers and hundreds of corporate and individual sponsors.