JA In The News - Junior Achievement USA

An Entrepreneur with a Sweet Spot for JA

Students are not the only ones who learn from JA…our volunteers do, too!

Meet Denis Ring, the Founder of Ocho Chocolate Candy, located in Oakland, California. A candy store that prides itself on great tasting organic candy bars.

In November, Ring decided to trade in his chocolate for a richer experience—volunteering with Junior Achievement for National Entrepreneurship Month.

“The students at Madison Park responded both intellectually and emotionally to the idea that they should really give themselves permission to dream,” Ring stated. “As the time passed, it was clear they were listening and engaged because of the questions they were asking.”

Yet, Ring didn’t expect his invitation into Madison Park Academy 7th grade classroom to be as sweet of a realization for the future of business.

“When I was in 7th grade the term ‘entrepreneurship’ was never heard, so we never really thought about these kinds of possibilities. It’s healthy and promising to see kids listening and thinking about how entrepreneurship happens,” Ring reflected.

Further proving the importance of exposing young people to the impact of entrepreneurship, research indicates that entrepreneurial mentorship creates more than an engaging experience through programs like JA, it also has the potential to create more entrepreneurs. 

A study conducted by Stanford determined that 37 percent of students who had entrepreneur-mentors went on to start or join new companies, compared to 28 percent of those whose mentors were not entrepreneurs.

Ring hopes his involvement will inspire the next generation of entrepreneurs: “When they got home that night, they talked about the guy they heard at school who started a candy company. But, more importantly, I hope they fell asleep thinking about what they might do as entrepreneurs.” 

" How The Right Mentor Can Foster Young Entrepreneurs." School of Engineering. N. p., 2017. Web. 9 Jan. 2018.

From Natural Disaster Victim to Entrepreneur

Bill Gates once said, “We cannot maintain an innovative economy unless we have well-trained people in science, math, and engineering”. Careers in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) has continued to grow at a rate of 17% since 2008, according to a U.S. Department of Commerce report.

In order to fulfill the STEM career positions, it is crucial that youth are taught the fundamentals of the industry early in life. Which is why Junior Achievement (JA) has various mobile and in-class programs to teach students critical thinking and career possibilities within the scope of STEM.

It was through STEM that One Concern, a Palo Alto, California based startup was able to engineer an answer to a question that has been plaguing the world for centuries—what would the world look like if we could predict (and prepare) the impact of natural disasters?

This past year was the single most expensive year on record for natural disasters.

Using artificial intelligence, this one-of-a-kind company focuses on earthquake preparedness and the response of crucial medical teams to save lives, cities, and money.

Cofounder Ahmad Wani, a Stanford Ph.D. student studying Earthquake Science, stated, “Our AI-based technology will assign a unique, verified ‘digital fingerprint’ to every natural or manmade element, from the smallest rock to complete structures to megacities and eventually, the entire planet.”

The platform being utilized by One Concern combines machine learning, hazard modeling, and artificial intelligence (AI) to predict when disasters will strike in order to prepare communities.

Recently, the life-saving company received $20 million from New Enterprise Associates along with participation from Geodesic Capital.

To review one of JA’s STEM offerings, check out JA Assembling Your Career HERE!

"Intelligent Engineering Services." Intelligent Engineering Services. N. p., 2017. Web. 16 Jan. 2018.

"2018: The Dawn Of Benevolent Intelligence – One Concern – Medium." Medium. N. p., 2017. Web. 10 Jan. 2018.

Johnson, Khari. "One Concern Raises $20 Million For AI That Predicts The Impact Of Natural Disasters." VentureBeat. N. p., 2017. Web. 10 Jan. 2018.

JA Wants to Know: What’s Downloading from your App Store?

A Tech Crunch article reports the average smartphone owner uses about nine apps per day. Which begs the question, what apps are best for your children?

In an eSpark Learning study, researchers reported, “New data show that educational apps are linked to compelling increases in student achievement…The data also show that apps that are more academically effective are correlated with higher engagement ratings. Students find effective educational apps fun, suggesting that these learning gains are sustainable.”

Luckily for parents AND students, Junior Achievement (JA) has created four apps that will turn any k-12 student’s screen time into educational entertainment.

From JA My Way™, a web app that provides tips and tools to help put students’ career aspirations on the express track to JA Success Park®,where students will learn the skills they need to succeed in today's job market, parents can be assured that their student's attention is focused on the future.

Other Junior Achievement apps include JA Build Your Future®, an interactive app that helps teens, parents, and teachers break down the cost of achieving dreams and goals as well as JA Assembling Your Career ™, which brings teachers, corporate volunteers and non-profit youth programs to middle and high school students to give them a better insight to a career in STEM.

Ready to help your child succeed? Click here to learn more about the JA Apps.

Learning, eSpark. "Education Research: The Effects Of Educational Apps On Student Achievement And Engagement." Esparklearning.com. N. p., 2018. Web. 2 Jan. 2018.

Perez, Sarah. "Report: Smartphone Owners Are Using 9 Apps Per Day, 30 Per Month." TechCrunch. N. p., 2018. Web. 2 Jan. 2018.

Kids & Money: What Parents Need to Know

How well does your child understand money? Junior Achievement USA surveyed 500 children between the ages 7-10 and the children’s parents to uncover how children interpret the value of money, how it is acquired, as well as what their parents think about money education for their student.

Of the 1,000 responses, JA was able to uncover 3 main findings.

1. Most Children Understand How Money is Earned 

The majority of the 500 children who responded had accurate expectations of how money is earned. In all, 91% believed people earn money by working, 40% thought money came from parents, 26% thought money was earned (by means other than working), while 4% believed money grew on trees.

2.Children Are Getting Hands-on Experience with Saving           

The majority of the kids had hands-on experience with earning their own money at home. Of the 500 students, 82% of the children stated that they earned an allowance for doing chores, getting good grades, doing homework or simply being kind to others at school and at home. Through this hands-on approach, most of the children in this study were knowledgeable about the basics of money, including how to count and save money.

3.Parents Feel Learning about Money should Start Early

  • When it comes down to parents’ expectations of their children and finances, 94% of parents believed that by the age of 12 a child should start learning about personal finances. While the majority of parents (92%) are leading by example by saving money for emergencies, college tuition, and retirement; many children still seem to lack the understanding of savings, interest and smart spending.


Want to read the full report? Click HERE


JA Inspires the Next Generation of Female Entrepreneurs

November of 2017 was a month for celebration as Junior Achievement (JA) provided life-changing experiences for young women as part of National Entrepreneurship Month.

In Austin, Texas, Bertha Sadler Means Young Women’s Leadership Academy hosted JA It’s My Business! for their eighth graders in which students learn how to develop a business startup from the ideation to the prototyping, as well as how to pitch their new business to potential funders.

It was here that young female students were able to work alongside accomplished professional women in order to perfect their presentations to prepare for a pitch competition at the E2 Intensive, an ongoing special program in which young women in the Austin area gain entrepreneurial experience while networking with successful and diverse professional women.

Some of the women who volunteered to mentor the young women included Sylvia Cento, Senior Program Manager of RetailMeNot; Adrianna Cantu, Co-Founder & CEO of Revealix; Caroline Reaves-Powers, Office Manager of Carol Dochen Realtors Inc. and Ashley Reed, a Junior Achievement of Central Texas board member and the Director of Talent and HR at Bulldog Solutions.


From the JA It’s My Business! lesson preparation, participating students were able to identify their own entrepreneurial traits, build entrepreneurial experience and align themselves with accomplished professional female role-models.

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