When Lauren Goldstein walked into GE for the first time as a high school junior to participate in the JA Company Program®, she had no idea she would end back up at the company six years later—this time as an employee. Lauren is now in her third rotation of the Financial Management Program (FMP), based at GE in Fairfield, Conn. She has come full circle in the JA program, now acting as a mentor to students as GE employees were to her. Jan Ursone, president of Junior Achievement of Southwest Connecticut, shared Lauren’s story.
“The JA program engaged my interest in business,” Lauren explained. “It really influenced my career path.”
Lauren was introduced to Junior Achievement during elementary and middle school. During her sophomore year of high school, she participated in the JA Company Program, where she learned how to start her own business venture. Lauren was placed at GE her last two years and served as president of her JA company during her senior year, working with GE employees to create weekly agendas, develop the company’s strategy, and complete basic financial statements.
“I looked up to the volunteers and found a mentor who provided great insight and guidance during my early college years,” she said. “I had a deep respect for the company as whole. The GE culture is so committed to giving back to the community. We can’t even begin to understand the impact we are making on these students. To us, it is one day or a few hours out of the office, but it means so much to them.”
Lauren’s story is just one example of GE’s long-standing commitment to Junior Achievement. Through a combination of grant funding, skills-based volunteerism and employee contributions, GE works with Junior Achievement to support educational needs around the world; tutoring and mentoring in 27 countries. Over the last eight years, GE has given JA Worldwide more than $11 million, engaging more than 31,000 volunteers to impact more than 600,000 JA students. They recently pledged an additional $1.8 million and 6,100 volunteers for the 2013-2014 school year.
Lauren concluded, “If you have the time and really want to make an impact, volunteer to get involved with JA. It is great experience for students as well as yourself. JA is a great place to harness leadership skills and there is a lot to learn from the students.”
Photos courtesy of General Electric.