About JA | Junior Achievement of Western Pennsylvania


About Junior Achievement

Junior Achievement's Purpose is to inspire and prepare young people to succeed in a global economy.

The envisioned future - what we aspire to become. Junior Achievement maintains an active vision, front and center, on how we can have a positive impact on the lives of more students - guided by our core values:

  • Belief in the boundless potential of young people
  • Commitment to the principles of market-based economics and entrepreneurship
  • Passion for what we do and honesty, integrity, and excellence in how we do it
  • Respect for the talents, creativity, perspectives, and backgrounds of all individuals
  • Belief in the power of partnership and collaboration
  • Conviction in the educational and motivational impact of relevant, hands-on learning

Junior Achievement Facts

JA of Western Pennsylvania History

Westinghouse Chairman A.W. Robertson convened a meeting of his peers at the Duquesne Club on May 4, 1939 and Junior Achievement of New York granted its first charter to the Pittsburgh operation. The founding corporate members were Westinghouse, U.S. Steel, Koppers and Gulf Oil.
In the fall of 1939, 40 students were enrolled in the original JA company program and meetings were held in the basement of the William Penn Hotel. During World War II, the War Department commissioned JA-Pittsburgh to build cases to store and move incendiary bombs. JA students also contributed to the war effort through conducting scrap metal and rubber drives.
  • 1948 - JA began to expand its presence outside of Pittsburgh and established outposts in Westmoreland, Washington and Butler Counties.
  • 1955 - JA expanded again in several communities in Southwest PA and changed its name to Junior Achievement of Southwestern PA.
  • 1989 - JASWPA merged with the JA of the Alleghenies chapter serving the Johnstown-Altoona area.
  • 2004 - JASWPA began a pilot program in Erie County, and in 2006, JASWPA officially became Junior Achievement of Western Pennsylvania.
  • 2016 - JAWPA annexed the northern counties of West Virginia bringing the total service territory to include 32 counties in Pennsylvania and 18 counties in West Virginia.

In 2020, JAWPA opened JA BizTown®, a fully-interactive community simulation that brings to life the business and other elements of what make day-to-day life successful in our cities and towns. After 9 hours of curriculum, students in grades four through six visit the 10,000 square foot mini-city located in South Fayette Township where they connect what they learned in school with the realities of the business world and everyday life.


Junior Achievement's purpose is to inspire and prepare young people to succeed in a global economy.


Patrice Matamoros is the president of JA of Western Pennsylvania. Jim NickelManaging Director of CIBC is the chairman of the board of directors. 

Proven Success

Junior Achievement is one of a few nonprofits to use independent, third-party evaluators to gauge the impact of its programs. Since 1993, independent evaluators have conducted studies on Junior Achievement's effectiveness. Findings prove that Junior Achievement has a positive impact in a number of critical areas. We invite you to read the Programs Evaluation Results.

Program Reach

Nationally, Junior Achievement reaches more than 4.9 million students per year in 212,101classrooms and after-school locations. JA programs are taught by volunteers in inner cities, suburbs, and rural areas throughout the United States, by 106 Area Offices in all 50 states. JAWPA is proud that in these unprecedented times, JA impacted nearly 42,000 students last school year, across western PA and northern WV, through both in-school and virtual JA programs and resources.

Organization Overview

Junior Achievement was founded in 1919 by Theodore Vail, president of American Telephone & Telegraph; Horace Moses, president of Strathmore Paper Co.; and Senator Murray Crane of Massachusetts. Today, Junior Achievement USA is headquartered in Colorado Springs, Colorado, and provides strategic direction, leadership, and support to 109 JA Areas across the nation. Local volunteer boards of directors comprised of business, education, and civic leaders set the policy and direction for each local office.


Junior Achievement's 243,756 classroom volunteers come from all walks of life, including: business people, college students, parents and retirees. These dedicated individuals are the backbone of our organization.

JA of Western Pennsylvania Team


JA President, Patrice Matamoros, is committed to working hard to empower our youth.

JA Leadership


Our staff is committed to make your experience working with us absolutely the best!

JA Staff


Our Board Members includes the finest business and individual  leaders in our community.

JA Board

Young Professionals BOARD

Advances JA's mission by supporting Pittsburgh's young professionals.

JAYP Board

More About Junior Achievement

Financials AND Annual Reports

We've consistently received high grades for accountability and transparency.


JA Financials



Join us on our mission to empower youth and create robust communities.


JA Careers


Schools We Serve

Schools we have partnered with in the past year. 


School List



We at Junior Achievement are dedicated to providing a positive, enriching learning experience free of bias that promotes greater economic opportunity and equity. Junior Achievement welcomes K-12 students, volunteers, educators, staff, and other partners and stakeholders, regardless of race, religion, age, gender, national origin, disability, sexual orientation or any other legally protected characteristic.

  • "Junior Achievement has given me a sense of what adults go through with budget issues."

    -Junior Achievement Student
  • "Junior Achievement reinforced concepts for me to remember later in life."

    -Junior Achievement Student
  • "I thought the experience was amazing. The presentation was unlike anything I've seen."

    -Junior Achievement Student
  • "I liked how the Junior Achievement volunteer explained his job to us."

    -Junior Achievement Student

Get Involved!

Junior Achievement
of Western Pennsylvania

Donate Now    Volunteer    Request a