The Need For JA

According to Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke, "The financial preparedness of our nation's young people is essential to their well-being and of vital importance to our economic future." However, a growing body of research finds that U.S. children are woefully ill prepared to become successful economic citizens of tomorrow. Evidence indicates today's students lack basic money management concepts as well as the skills needed to be effective employees. Recent studies show:

 

  • American high school students scored just 48.3% when tested on basic money knowledge – the lowest score in the survey's 14 year history. - Jump$tart Coalition
  • Over one third of parents do not discuss financial matters with their children, but 84 of teens say their parents are their source of information about money management. – All State Foundation Survey – 2015
  • Overall, students who drop out are twice as likely to be unemployed; three times as likely to live in poverty; eight times as likely to end up in prison; and two times as likely to become a parent of a drop out.

The state of Wisconsin mandates no financial literacy education for its youth. It's increasingly evident that this lack of economic education is devastating our children, their future success, and Wisconsin's ability to be economic leader in the global marketplace. While our educational system continues to struggle with budget cuts and rising educational costs, Junior Achievement provides relevant, meaningful hands-on learning to bridge the gap and ensure that today's young people are well prepared for an economically successful future.


Solution
Relevant. Bold. Innovative Programs at Work

Junior Achievement offers powerful, age, grade specific programs that support and enable youth in a number of ways, including in their quest toward high school graduation.

  • JA's elementary school programs are the foundation of its K-12 curricula. Six sequential themes, each with five hands-on activities, as well as after-school and experiential learning labs, work to change students' lives by helping them understand financial literacy and economics.
  • JA's middle grades programs for students in grades 6-8 include economics and business curricula and experiential learning labs. The dynamic interaction between the volunteer and students promotes active learning and brings theory to life while highlighting the need for continued education.
  • JA provides 11 high school programs that help students make informed, intelligent decisions about their future, and foster skills that will be used in real life. Experiential learning labs allow students to build critical thinking, problem solving and creativity skills to empower their future success.

Volunteer Driven
Volunteers & Staff

Volunteers play a key role in bringing Junior Achievement programs to life. By sharing their personal and professional experiences and skills with students they help them make the connection between what they are learning in school and what they will need to succeed in work and life. During the 2014 - 2015 school year, there were 8,493 volunteers delivering over 1.4 million contact hours to Wisconsin students.


 

Measured Program Results
Evaluation

The impact of the Junior Achievement program is measured locally through the implementation of nationally developed evaluation instruments, pre- and post-testing of students and teacher and volunteer surveys. Wisconsin also regularly participates in independent national evaluations coordinated by JA USA.

Evaluations include both objective referenced testing to measure knowledge gained as well as alternative assessments to measure the participants' ability to apply their new found knowledge. Results from both the objective-referenced testing as well as the alternative assessments clearly indicate that JA students outperform their peers who are not participating in Junior Achievement.


Proven Results
Outcomes and highlights from evaluations include the following:

  • 76% of area student indicated greater confidence in their own abilities after a JA experiential learning session.
  • Compared to students in general, JA students report increased confidence in: Making decisions, setting personal and financial goals, and taking more responsibility for their behavior.
  • For eleven years in a row, elementary school teachers rate Junior Achievement a 3.5 or better on a four-point scale for overall content, effectiveness and success.
  • 92% of JA alumni report they could successfully compete in a business environment verses only 45% of non-JA participants.