MILWAUKEE – Junior Achievement launched its 2021 Promise Campaign statewide on Oct. 1 with a vow to young people in Wisconsin: By 2025, JA will secure and invest $20 million to prepare 500,000 Wisconsin youths to become job-ready and community-engaged.
As young people return to school this fall, they are faced with many challenges. Catching up on basic skills, relearning social and emotional connections, and understanding the impact of a worldwide pandemic are just a few of the hurdles our young people must overcome. COVID-19 showed us that young people are growing up in Wisconsin without a basic survival skill – the ability to carefully and thoughtfully plan for their financial future. Misinformed financial decisions and poor career planning result in consequences that can last a lifetime. The ripple effect is felt personally, in families, in our communities and throughout the state.
New research from JAUSA and Citizens Bank found that the financial impact of COVID-19 caused 25 percent of 2020 high school graduates to delay their college plans, JA said in a news release. Only a third of high school graduates think they will be financially independent from their parents in the next 10 years.
Wisconsin employers are concerned about the deficit of workplace skills in the emerging workforce, Junior Achievement said. Two of the biggest obstacles Wisconsin employers report are a lack of skills in today’s workforce and a lack of knowledge among young people about Wisconsin jobs and the skills needed for success. At the same time, many young people find it difficult to transition from school to the workplace because they are unprepared for the challenges they will face. COVID-19 has exacerbated this problem.
“There is hope for young people in our promise that the Junior Achievement team, working with volunteers and educators, will be a leader in inspiring and preparing young people for success,” said Michael Frohna, President of Junior Achievement of Wisconsin, in the news release. “The support of community investors and volunteer providers will give young people the most comprehensive financial knowledge and career readiness information available across the state.”
Junior Achievement recruits and trains community volunteers and teachers to deliver over 60 hands-on, age-appropriate programs to K-12 students. Delivery models are available that allow students to learn in the classroom, online or in whatever format their local school districts uses.
To learn more about the impact JA programs have in your area of Wisconsin, go to https://wisconsin.ja.org/about/communities-served. Contributions to the 2021 Promise Campaign can be made at https://wisconsin.ja.org/campaign/join-the-ja-promise-team.