Junior Achievement

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JA (Junior Achievement) Worldwide
Junior Achievement Logo.svg
FoundersTheodore Vail, Horace A. Moses, Winthrop M. Crane
FocusPrepare youth for employment and entrepreneurship
Area served
110+ countries

JA (Junior Achievement) Worldwide is a global non-profit youth organization founded in 1919 by Horace A. Moses, Theodore Vail, and Winthrop M. Crane. JA works with local businesses, schools, and organizations to deliver experiential learning programs in the areas of work readiness, financial literacy, and entrepreneurship to students from ages 5 to 25.[1][2][3][4][5]


Boys' and Girls' Bureau of the Eastern States League was founded in Springfield, Massachusetts, in 1919 to help educate young people moving from rural America to the country's booming cities about the means of production and free enterprise. The following year, the organization's name was changed to the Junior Achievement Bureau. The name was modified in 1926 to Junior Achievement, Inc.[6]

Following World War II, the organization grew from a regional into a national organization.[7] In the 1960s, JA began its growth into an international organization.[7]

Beginning in 1944, Junior Achievement organized an annual national conference, known as the National Junior Achievers Conference, NAJAC, to bring together student representatives of local programs to participate in contests. In 1949, the organization began allowing conference delegates to elect national leadership to play an active role contributing to program development, increasing public awareness and supporting fundraising.[6]

For more than 50 years, the organization was known mostly for the JA Company Program, an after-school program through which students form companies, sell stocks, produce and market a product, and sell it in their communities and globally. The student companies are mentored by volunteer advisers from business and tech communities. In 1975, Junior Achievement introduced its first in-school program, Project Business, featuring volunteers from the local business community teaching middle school students about business and personal finance.[7]

Today, JA Worldwide is one of the world's largest youth-serving organizations, dedicated to giving young people the knowledge and skills they need for employment and entrepreneurship. JA programs are delivered by corporate and community volunteers and provide relevant, hands-on experiences that give students knowledge and skills in financial literacy, work readiness, and entrepreneurship. JA annually reaches more than 12 million students in more than 100 countries around the world. Programs are delivered by more than 450,000 JA volunteers.[8]

JA Worldwide has six regional offices: JA Africa, JA Americas, JA Asia Pacific, JA Europe, JA Middle East and Africa (INJAZ Al-Arab), Junior Achievement USA.[8]

JA organizations around the world go by a variety of names, including Young Enterprise in the UK, INJAZ in the Middle East, Prestasi Junior in Indonesia, Vlajo in Belgium, and more.

Notable Alumni[edit]

Notable JA alumni include former U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Donna Shalala, U.S. Congressman Bob Clement, Subway restaurant founder Fred DeLuca, American actor Arte Johnson, journalist Dan Rather, Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban, comedian Amy Sedaris, and British Labor Party Politician David Lammy.[9][10][11]

Notable Canadian JA alumni include entrepreneur and television personality Manjit Minhas (Alberta),[12] marketing executive Jennifer Wilnechenko (British Columbia),[13] executive director of The DMZ at Ryerson University Abdullah Snobar (Ontario),[14] and young philanthropist Ben Sabic (Manitoba).[15]


From its founding in 1919 until 1962, JA was managed by volunteers from the business community. In 1962, the organization hired its first, full-time, paid president.[6]

Junior Achievement USA/JA Worldwide Chief Officers have included:

  • 1919–1929: O.H. Benson
  • 1929–1942: John St. Clair Mendenhall
  • 1942–1942: Marion L. Ober, George C. Hager, Edward M. Seay (interim)
  • 1942–1950: George Tamblyn
  • 1950–1952: Romeo Collin
  • 1952–1955: John Haein
  • 1955–1960: Larry Hart
  • 1962–1964: John Davis Lodge
  • 1965–1970: Donald J. Hardenbrook
  • 1970–1982: W.R. (Dick) Maxwell
  • 1982–1994: Karl Flemke
  • 1994–1995: Kathryn J. Whitmire (JA USA)
  • 1994–1996: James Parkel (JA International)
  • 1995–2000: James B. Hayes (JA USA)
  • 1996–2000: Samuel Taylor (JA International)
  • 2000–2004: Paul Ostergaard (JA International)
  • 2001–2006: David S. Chernow (JA USA/JA Worldwide)
  • 2007–2007: Gerry Czarnecki (JA Worldwide, interim)
  • 2007–present: Jack Kosakowski (JA USA)
  • 2008–2015: Sean C. Rush (JA Worldwide)
  • 2015–present: Asheesh Advani (JA Worldwide)

Board Chairs have included:


  1. ^ Daley, Suzanne (28 November 1990). "New World for Junior Achievement". The New York Times. Retrieved 16 May 2012.
  2. ^ Singer, Penny (18 May 1997). "For Junior Achievers, Volunteers Are Key". The New York Times. Retrieved 16 May 2012.
  3. ^ Heath, Thomas (13 May 2012). "Value Added: This English major prefers the language of money". The Washington Post. Retrieved 16 May 2012.
  4. ^ Duchon, Dennis; Green, Stephen G.; Taber, Thomas D. (1 January 1986). "Vertical dyad linkage: A longitudinal assessment of antecedents, measures, and consequences". Journal of Applied Psychology. 71 (1): 56–60. doi:10.1037/0021-9010.71.1.56.
  5. ^ Wagner, Jodie (16 November 2012). "Junior Achievement program teaches Jupiter students life skills". The Palm Beach Post.
  6. ^ a b c "Junior Achievement Records, 1916-2002, Ruth Lilly Special Collections & Archives". Indiana University. Retrieved 30 April 2018.
  7. ^ a b c Francomano, Joe (1988). Junior Achievement: A History. Colorado Springs, CO: Junior Achievement Inc.
  8. ^ a b "JA Worldwide Locations". Retrieved 30 April 2018.
  9. ^ "Junior Achievement 100". Retrieved 30 April 2018.
  10. ^ "Junior Achievement of Middle Tennessee". Retrieved 30 April 2018.
  11. ^ "Junior Achievement Looking to Re-Connect with Former Students". Junior Achievement. Retrieved 30 April 2018.
  12. ^ "Alumni of Influence Award". JA Southern Alberta. Retrieved 21 February 2020.
  13. ^ "About JA Alumni BC". JA Alumni British Columbia. Retrieved 21 February 2020.
  14. ^ "JA Central Ontario Governors' Dinner (2018) - JA Alumni Panel". YouTube. Retrieved 21 February 2020.
  15. ^ "2009-2010 Annual Report" (PDF). Junior Achievement of Manitoba. Retrieved 21 February 2020.

External links[edit]