In response to the disruption of traditional education and in-person classes, Indianapolis Public Schools and Junior Achievement of Central Indiana collaborated to create a program specifically designed to meet critical needs of high school students. JA Focus on the Future is a high school experience that includes interactive online curriculum and activities focused on concepts related to career exploration and work readiness, soft skills and financial literacy so students can be prepared to succeed after graduating high school.
“It’s critically important that we prepare our students for what comes after high school, and the JA Focus on the Future program helps teach those real-world skills in a stimulating way that prepares our students for success,” said Aleesia Johnson, IPS Superintendent. “As educators learn to engage students virtually and adapt curriculum in this new world of e-learning, we must ensure that we’re preparing the workforce of tomorrow, whether they choose enrollment, enlistment or employment. We are grateful for the longstanding partnership IPS has with Junior Achievement and consider their resources invaluable to our students.”
Last year, IPS and JA partnered to create the IPS/JA Inspire Job Fair where students who were on the employment track could learn more about the various industry jobs they studied in the school-based curriculum offered by JA. This year’s event had to be canceled due to COVID-19 precautions, leaving students without the opportunity to meet face-to-face with employers who provide expertise and real-world learning experiences to develop further understanding and interest among students.
The JA Focus on the Future program provides curriculum and resources designed around JA’s three pillars (work and career readiness, financial literacy and entrepreneurship) and builds in flexibility for teachers to deliver modules in ways that work best for their students. The curriculum is engaging and interactive, encouraging high school students to focus on their future, and preparing them for success with courses addressing topics such as soft skill development, resume and job application tips, and identifying entrepreneurial strengths and talents.
“Although these are uncertain times, one thing we are certain of is the importance of inspiring our young people to believe in their potential and preparing them to achieve future success,” said Jennifer Burk, Junior Achievement of Central Indiana President and CEO. “JA’s focus on work and career readiness, financial literacy and developing an entrepreneurial mindset are more important now than ever as we work to ensure the future remains bright for our kids. We are grateful for our partnership with IPS and their commitment to preparing every student to pursue a pathway to success.”
Junior Achievement and IPS have developed a strong partnership over the last decade, delivering JA programs to nearly 10,000 kindergarten through 12th grade IPS students annually. In recent weeks, JA staff members have led one-on-one, online training sessions with educators to familiarize them with the new JA Focus on the Future course offerings, providing a customizable series of modules and activities based on need and grade level (9-12). These can be published directly onto a student’s e-learning platform.
Earlier this year, JA launched its “Project Tomorrows” initiative in response to the COVID-19 crisis, providing a wide variety of free, digital JA programs for kindergarten through 12th grade students, parents and educators to access at home. JA Focus on the Future supplements this initiative, and was developed specifically in partnership with IPS to provide high school students with high-quality, relevant and meaningful e-learning opportunities which empower them to dream big and prepare for their future. Focus on the Future will also be rolled out to other local school districts partnering with JA.
For more information regarding Junior Achievement’s new online programs and how you can bring them to your students please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or visit https://jaindy.formstack.com/forms/ja_focus_on_the_future.