A group of Jamestown High School Youth Apprenticeship Program (YAP) students recently spent the after school hours running the Red Raider School store, which sells food, apparel, drinks and school supplies both before and after school. Students ran the register, waited on customers and re-stocked the inventory. The juniors and seniors, through the district’s 21st Century Community Learning Centers Grant, will employ the Junior Achievement Program to help them gain even more real-world business experience. Junior Achievement is the world’s largest organization dedicated to inspiring and preparing young people to succeed in a global economy. Through a dedicated volunteer network in partnership with business and educators, Junior Achievement provides in-school and after school programs for students that focus on three key content areas: work readiness, entrepreneurship and financial literacy. The Junior Achievement experience empowers young people to own their economic success and brings the real world to students, opening their minds to their potential and preparing them for the world of work. Today, 126 individual area operations reach more than four million students in the United States, with an additional 5.7 million students served by operations in 122 other countries worldwide.
“YAP students have been running the school store since 1998,” said JHS Business and YAP teacher Kim Sutter. “Through this unique partnership, we will be able to offer even more business training to our students. Junior Achievement focuses on community –based instruction, and is dedicated to educating students about workforce readiness, entrepreneurship and financial literacy through experiential, hands-on programs. We hope to get as many community speakers into the Junior Achievement program as possible.”
Youth Apprenticeship Program
The two-year Youth Apprenticeship Program is designed to provide immediate practical application of skills learned in the classroom. By working two days a week at a local jobsite, students see the benefits of math, science, English, technology and other academic classes. Students are provided with both coaches and mentors who guide their learning while linking it to information they learn while at high school. These students are a step ahead of the rest with real world experience and work ready skills. Many students in the YAP program retain their jobs during the summer and even after graduation. Some of the long-time local businesses who have participated in YAP are: 2nd Look Graphics, A Children’s Place, Artone Manufacturing Co., Arts Council for Chautauqua County, Chautauqua County Humane Society, Chautauqua Striders, Cummins Engine Co, Downtown Jamestown Development Corp., Jamestown Department of Youth Services, Jamestown Primary Care YMCA, YWCA and WCA Hospital.
Junior Achievement Connection
The YAP students will work with three Junior Achievement units: JA Company Program, JA Careers with a Purpose and JA Entrepreneurship. Junior Achievement programs help prepare young people for the real world by showing them how to generate wealth and effectively manage it, how to create jobs which make their communities more robust, and how to apply entrepreneurial thinking to the workplace. Students put these lessons into action and learn the value of contributing to their communities. The Junior Achievement program, “Economics for Success” was successfully piloted last year in two of the District’s after school programs at Jefferson and Washington middle schools. Both sites plan to continue the popular, informative and interactive Junior Achievement learning series this year.
“The Junior Achievement Program aligns perfectly with the core goals of the 21st Century Community Learning Centers Grant, which stresses extending and enhancing the learning that occurs during the school day,” said Julie Poppleton, Director of 21st Century Learning Grant. “Junior Achievement also focuses on preparing students for college and careers, which correlates precisely with Common Core State Standards.”
The JA Company Program curriculum fits perfectly with the YAP-run Red Raider School store. With the support and guidance of volunteer consultants from the local business community, the JA Company Program provides basic economic education for high school students. By organizing and operating an actual business enterprise, students not only learn how businesses function, they also learn about the structure of the U.S. free enterprise system and the benefits it provides.
“Even though we are doing many of the procedures in the JA Company Program, it hits upon many other areas that we have not, such as: marketing, building a business plan and starting a board of directors,” said English and YAP teacher Charlie McKenna. “Junior Achievement will allow us to bring in community business people to explain how they run their real-life business, explain specific areas like purchasing and human resources and how we can apply that to improve the JHS Red Raider School Store.”
Maxims, or rules of conduct, are used in the JA Careers with a Purpose module to frame career and life decision-making. What should I do when I graduate from high school? What choices are out there? How do my skills, interests, and values match with available careers? Through JA “Careers with a Purpose,” students learn to use ethical decision-making skills to make career and life decisions. They discover that their career can have a noble purpose by reviewing their values and life maxims.
JA “Be Entrepreneurial,” a new high school program, focuses on challenging students, through interactive classroom activities, to start their own entrepreneurial venture while still in high school. One of ten JA programs designed with the specific needs of upper grade students in mind, JA Be Entrepreneurial provides useful, practical content to assist students to transition into becoming productive, contributing members of society.
“We invite any local business person who may be interested in helping to present through the Junior Achievement Program or mentor in our Youth Apprenticeship Program,” said the teachers. “Our community partners are invaluable resources that help our students prepare themselves for college and the workforce. We appreciate the community’s support and look forward to adding more of our local business people’s expertise to our curriculum.”
For more information on the Jamestown High School’s Youth Apprenticeship Program or Junior Achievement Program, please contact Kim Sutter at 483-3470.
To find out how you can make a difference, visit www.ja.org.