Together with Bank of America, Junior Achievement can break down the barriers that prevent underprivileged youth on Jacksonville’s Northside from succeeding.
Bank of America awarded Junior Achievement of North Florida a Workforce Development & Education grant earlier this year to support the JA Work$ program which provides high school students with work-related training and on-the-job experience.
More than 100 high school students participated during the Spring 2014 semester through June 2014. These students were recruited from Title I schools that are located in underserved communities: Ed White High School, Lee High School and Ribault High School. Students were also recruited from our own JA Boy$ program which focuses on bringing financial literacy, workforce preparation and entrepreneurship programs to underprivileged boys and young men on Jacksonville’s Northside and Westside.
“It is our goal to equip these students with work readiness skills to become productive citizens,” said VP of Programs Tiffany Mackey.
As with all JA initiatives, trained volunteers facilitated the program. Volunteers taught two programs to JA Work$ students, JA Career Success and JA Personal Finance.
The students went through job application, resume and interview training under the guidance of volunteers. Armed with the knowledge imparted by these programs, JA Work$ participants were provided a job assignment: teaching Junior Achievement classes to nearly 1,000 elementary school students. Upon completion of their “job” JA Work$ students were provided a small stipend of $150 and much like a real job they were evaluated and received feedback.
“The Bank of America-sponsored JA Work$ initiative provides a direct impact on students graduating from high school,” said JA of North Florida president Steve St. Amand. “Junior Achievement’s workforce preparation programs that highlight resume writing, interviewing skills and workplace skills are coupled with actual work experience to give students a “how to” guide for use once they graduate.”
“[JA Work$] is the perfect combination of taking theories learned in the classroom and applying them practically,” said JA Boy$ Program Manager Jonathan Bishop. “We want to give the student participants a peek into the real-world and what it takes to succeed.”
JA Work$ graduates can serve as models to others in their neighborhoods, spreading the message that leadership is something of value and that there is an exciting world beyond the confines of their neighborhood.