Junior Achievement Turns 100

On November 2, there will be a grand celebration on the Eastern Shore to mark the 100th anniversary of Junior Achievement (JA). Marking this centennial year proves how the organization has remained relevant and purposeful through the decades. Junior Achievement of the Eastern Shore (JAES) will celebrate with a Centennial Dinner Celebration at Salisbury University.

JA was founded in Springfield, Massachusetts in response to families moving from farms to the growing industrial cities. The goal of these forefathers – Strathmore Paper founder Horace Moses, AT&T Chairman Theodore Vail, and U.S. Senator Murray Crane – was to provide young people with the skills they would need to be successful adults in their new communities.

Then, there was a need for jobs in the textile mills and factories. Today, there is a need for students going into skilled trade positions such as plumbers, electricians, construction managers and mechanics. Through the years, JA has adapted to continue promoting work readiness, financial literacy and entrepreneurship to young people.

During the course of the past 100 years, JA has evolved from an organization operating primarily in the Northeastern United States and teaching teens how to start a business into a multinational organization reaching more than 10 million students in 100 countries with programs that promote entrepreneurship, career and work readiness and financial literacy.

“Very few organizations make it to 100 years, much less continue to grow and thrive like Junior Achievement has,” said Jack Kosakowski, President and CEO of Junior Achievement USA. “We are taking this opportunity to celebrate and honor what’s come before, but also look toward to the future as we work to inspire and prepare our young people to succeed in our ever-changing world.”

In the United States, JA reaches nearly 5 million students in grades K-12 in 107 markets with an additional 5.2 million students served by operations in 100 other countries worldwide. Locally, the goal is to reach 11,500 students on the Eastern Shore, including Talbot, Caroline, Dorchester, Wicomico, Somerset, and Worcester.

Recently JAES welcomed Accomack County into the fold and a Dorchester County board of directors was formed over the past few months. Jayme Hayes, JAES president, said, “Our significant growth over the past decade is a sure sign of the quality of the work we’re doing locally, and we’re honored that our donors entrust us with their funds. We’re showing impact and our donors appreciate giving to an organization that is truly making a difference. JA’s success over the past 100 years can be attributed to the fact that JA, as a whole, is continually evolving and developing curriculum that is relevant to the world today.”

There are a variety of ways individuals and businesses can help support JAES.

Donate Money: Corporate and individual donors support the area’s growing need for youth development.

Volunteer in the Classroom: Deliver programming that inspires students. It’s possible for parent educators to volunteer in their child’s classroom.

Spearhead a Fundraiser: Jeans for JA is a relationship building way employees can support the world’s largest organization dedicated to giving young people the knowledge and skills they need to own their economic success, plan for their future, and make smart academic and economic choices.

Participate in an Event: Upcoming events include Bowl-a-Thons (this spring in Easton), a Golf Tournament (April 30, 2020 at Glen Riddle Golf Course), Ag Day (Spring 2020 at Easton Elementary School), or JA Inspire. JAES is gearing up for another successful JA Inspire event in Ocean City on February 27, 2020. It was so popular this year that it was moved to a larger space to accommodate students from more counties. Not all students receive career mentorship at home, and JA Inspire offers middle school students the opportunity to learn about careers from caring mentors, plan for high school course work and gain experiential and hands-on learning.

Jayme added, “Our newest program, JA Inspire, which piloted last year, reached 1,200 students and was so well-received that the outlying counties jumped on the opportunity to participate, bringing our student number for the 2019-2020 school year to 3,000.”

To learn more about JA, consider watching a documentary entitled “Made Possible: The Business of Junior Achievement” on PBS.org. Or, call the JAES office at 410-742-8112 and visit www.EasternShoreJA.org.

Quick Facts about Junior Achievement

  • More than 112 million Americans have gone through Junior Achievement programs since its founding in 1919.
  • Research shows that JA Alumni are more likely to start a business, have a college degree and feel confident about managing money. Notable alums include Mark Cuban (owner, Dallas Mavericks and a shark on “Shark Tank”), JuJu Chang (“Nightline” anchor), Millard Fuller (founder of Habitat for Humanity); Frederick Deluca (founder/CEO of Subway); and Steve Case (co-founder of AOL), just to name a few.
  • For most of its history, Junior Achievement offered one program, the JA Company Program, where teens met after school and started their own businesses. Today, most JA programs are offered in-school in grades K through 12 and focus on work readiness, financial literacy and entrepreneurship.
  • Nearly a quarter-of-a-million volunteers, primarily from the business community, teach JA programs each year.
  • The first JA program outside of the United States was started in Canada in the 1950s. Today, JA programs are available in more than 100 countries in every region of the world.
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Allison Rogers



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