The youth power was an asset which could be harnessed to the war effort. After all, JA had the skills, the tools, the machinery, the motivation, and the youth. All Junior Achievement had to do was match these assets up with the need. So JA companies "went to war" and produced many different parts according to specifications of local plants.
In Chicago, the enterprising JA companies got a contract to manufacture 10,000 pants hangers for the Army. They earned not only a decent profit, but a lot of publicity as well. In Pittsburgh, an asbestos-lined box for carting off incendiary bombs was approved by the Civil Defense and sold locally. There was also the manufacture of baby incubators. The adult companies making these incubators were into war products and had reduced the production, causing a shortage. With the help of medical authorities, a wooden incubator was designed and approved. Yet another JA company located an abandoned locomotive and obtained permission to go into the scrap metal business. They used acetylene torches to cut it apart for badly needed scrap iron.
The shortage of many items provided all sorts of opportunities for Achievers with ingenuity to find new and different products. This provided an incentive to many teenagers and probably had much to do with the fact that Achiever membership during the war years remained relatively high.
Click the link below to read more about Junior Achievement during World War II from the book, "Junior Achievement A History," by Joseph J. Francomano.
1942-45 The War Years