With spring comes a fresh perspective and an exit from the doldrums of winter in western Pennsylvania. In 2021 that emergence into the light takes on exponential energy as we continue working to defeat the pandemic and return to a normal lifestyle. At Junior Achievement of Western Pennsylvania (JA), where thousands of sponsors, volunteers and students connect to grow awareness and understanding of important skills for success in business and life, we remain committed to that high-value contribution to our aspiring youth and to a regional economy that needs their contributions to help everyone thrive.
From that foundation and clarity, JA is pivoting in creative ways to adapt and evolve to serve the full spectrum of its stakeholders. During the pandemic challenges, JA was undertaking a planned leadership transition that led us to Patrice Matamoros. Her performance with the Pittsburgh Marathon grew it into a world-class athletic event showcasing competition and healthy lifestyles, and along the way created an annual celebration of our city, its vibrant neighborhoods and people. Patrice is bringing that energy, experience and vision – her own fresh perspective -- to help JA pioneer new ideas that are sure to grow its ability to empower and enable our young people and business community to connect and collaborate for long-term mutual benefit.
JA sponsors will soon be learning about new, innovative programs that build on past engagements by offering higher impact for students and the sponsor brands. We’re doing this by integrating a range of media features designed to help grow awareness and recognition for JA students, sponsors and the mission. It’s a formula to deliver student curriculum and sponsor benefits that naturally help build momentum for the overall goal: preparing our young people for success. When combined with JA’s new JA BizTown® facility – where students experience a day living in a community and performing roles as workers in a full range of businesses – and JA’s increasingly digital learning delivery options, JA is extremely well positioned to create new value for all its stakeholders.
There is much to be learned about this pandemic’s effect how we live, work and play. No matter what changes emerge, there are some things that remain constant:
- It’s more important than ever that we support our young people’s needs to prepare for life and careers.
- That JA plays this important role in partnership with the business community to develop the people and skills they need to operate and grow.
- That working together we can achieve these goals, and ultimately help meet our collective need to drive strong economic recovery and growth that can continue to fund vital infrastructure and services across our region.
Published by: Jerry Thomspson, JA Board Member and Principal at writeIDEAS