For 100 years, JA has delivered hands on, experiential learning in financial literacy, work readiness, and entrepreneurship. We create pathways for employability, job creation, and financial success.
For more than 50 years, the one program available from Junior Achievement was JA Company. This was an after-school program where teens started a business with the guidance of JA Advisors, who were volunteers from the local business community. The teen-run businesses would sell stock, produce a product or service, and, after several months, liquidate and ideally provide shareholders with a return on their investment. At its high point, the JA Company Program reached nearly 300,000 teens a year and the National Junior Achievement Conference (NAJAC), an annual conference at Indiana University, drew more than 2,000 attendees yearly.
In the 1970s Junior Achievement started to offer programs in classrooms during school hours with the introduction of Project Business, a program that introduced middle school students to business concepts, and Business Basics, a program that helped elementary school students gain an understanding of business and money. By the 1980s, JA was bringing Personal Computers (PCs) into high school classrooms for its Applied Economics program. JA was reaching 1 million students a year by the end of the decade.
JA’s first international operations started in Canada in the 1955 when Ralph Baker recruited Vancouver’s business community to provide programs for 250 students. After expanding to the United Kingdom in the 1960s, the organization’s global footprint grew exponentially in the 1990s with expansion in the former Soviet Union, Asia, Africa, South America and the Middle East.
Today, Junior Achievement offers programs in more than 100 communities across the U.S., reaching nearly 5 million students with the support of nearly a quarter-million volunteers, primarily from the business community. Globally, JA reaches more than 10 million students worldwide with programs in over 100 countries.