Junior Achievement Program At Jamestown High School A Success

Yanira Castellano, from Chautauqua Striders, teaches a lesson from Junior Achievement’s “It’s Your Future” curriculum in Debbie Oakes English as a New Language class. Pictured are: JHS students Rosa Vazquez-Torres, Vermaris Cruz-Lopez, Sonia Rodriguez, Elizabeth Rosario-Harris, Luis Vargas and Iris Rodriguez.
JCC College Connections AP Physics students participate in a “Shoot For Your Grade” lab. Students determined the range of a projectile when fired at a certain angle. They took data from those launches to determine the velocity of the launcher. Pictured: Olivia Reinhardt, Brooke Federko, Kelly Emerson, Nicole Haase(can’t see her face), Jessica Haase, Isabel Kulakowski and Spencer Higbee.

The Junior Achievement (JA) pilot program at Jamestown High School is a resounding success. Volunteers from 23 local businesses and organizations delivered JA once a month to the vast majority of ninth graders at Jamestown High School during the first semester. The volunteers used JA It’s My Future® curriculum, which provides practical information about preparing for the working world, as well as introducing students to the sixteen career clusters, high-growth jobs, career planning, and creating a personal brand. The partnership has been very successful with 82 percent of JHS teachers saying that whey would use the program with their students again and 90 percent saying that the program was relevant to their students.

“With the introduction of academy pathways at JHS, JA It’s My Future® gives students an opportunity in ninth grade to explore a variety of careers,” said Laurie Mahoney, President of Junior Achievement of WNY. “They learn about the skills and level of education required for their career choice; what the work environment is like: do you work inside or outdoors, are you working mostly alone or as a part of a group, how much interaction do you have with the public…important questions that a young person may not think about. They also learn about personal brand and how their social media presence is a big part of the brand they are creating. With the interaction of the volunteer delivering the JA lessons, JA hopes students learn about the ‘real’ world workplace and the many career choices available to them.”

A special thank you to all of the local businesses and organizations who supply volunteers for the JA project:  Chautauqua Foundation, Monofrax, Deppas Insurance, Weber Knapp, Artone LLC, Fenton History Center, Jamestown Community College, Chautauqua Striders, United Way, Dream It Do It, WCA Services, Schaffner, Knight, Minnaugh & Co., The Resource Center, Rotary, M & T Bank, Courier Capital, Jamestown Fire Department, Moon Brook Country Club, Hope’s Windows and Southern Chautauqua Credit Union. The JA volunteers also benefited by the JHS experience with 90 percent saying they would volunteer again and 100 percent said they would recommend volunteering to a friend or colleague.

“The JA program has been wonderful for my students,” said JHS English as a New Language teacher, Debbie Oakes. “They have explored their personal strengths and different career paths. They have analyzed successful interview skills, practiced reading and obtaining information from job postings of different formats, and had casual, informative discussions about essential job skills such as proper dress, behavior and attitude. It is also important for students to see successful role models.”

United Way of Southern Chautauqua was the primary funder of the JA It’s My Future® program. Additional funding necessary to support JHS and other Chautauqua area JA programs is provided by the Ralph C. Sheldon Foundation, Chautauqua Regional Community Foundation, Lenna Foundation, Holmberg Foundation, Cummins Inc. Jamestown Engine Plant and Blackstone Advanced Technologies.