INDIANAPOLIS – As schools across central Indiana move toward digital alternatives to in-person classes, Junior Achievement (JA) of Central Indiana is taking one of its largest student programs online. JA has announced that this year’s JA JobSpark curriculum and event will be available through a new virtual platform for students and educators to participate in the classroom or from the convenience of their own home.
JA’s JobSpark program, which includes teacher-led coursework and a two-day online career expo scheduled to take place Sept. 22 – 23, will impact more than 10,000 eighth graders across central Indiana by connecting them with area professionals providing interactive experiences and teaching them skills and personal attributes needed for careers that are forecasted to be in high demand and readily available upon graduation.
JA JobSpark 2020 will be conducted on a video game-like platform, custom created by JA through the generosity of local supporters and sponsors. This platform allows students, parents and educators to virtually explore the Indiana State Fairgrounds, where the event is typically held, while participating in career exploration games and activities along the way. Students can participate in interactive learning experiences from eight different industry clusters including:
- Advanced Manufacturing, Engineering and Logistics
- Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources
- Architecture, Engineering and Construction
- Business and Finance
- Government, Law and Public Service
- Health and Life Sciences
- Hospitality and Tourism
Depending on the industry cluster they choose, students can experience an array of virtual activities during this year’s JA JobSpark event. For example, while students learning about agriculture can take a live virtual farm tour, those learning about construction can view a live demonstration highlighting the importance of interior design. While students in the Health and Life Sciences cluster take a 3-D tour of a State Flight medical helicopter, Business and Finance students can partake in a brand-building project creating company logos and learning new marketing skills. These are a small sample of the more than 250 activities students can experience during this year’s program.
“While we at Junior Achievement understand there is no replacement for hands-on, in-person education, we’re excited to virtually connect our students with professionals in careers of their interest,” said Jennifer Burk, president and CEO of JA of Central Indiana. “Many aspects of our lives have been limited or put on hold due to COVID-19, but we’re ensuring our students continue to have opportunities to prepare for their future.”
JA JobSpark, now in its fifth year, is designed to help students by using JA’s in-class curriculum to “spark” interest in different careers, then provide students with an understanding of the classes they will need to take in high school, a plan for post-secondary education or training, and a clear path toward that career. The culmination of the classroom curriculum is the JA JobSpark event, where students learn about skills and equipment used daily in industries of their interests at the guidance of Hoosier professionals from local companies and corporations, including Eli Lilly and Company, Indiana University Health, Republic Airways, Ed Martin Automotive Group, and more.
For more information or to get involved, please visit www.jajobspark.org or contact Cindy Kicinski at email@example.com.
About Junior Achievement of Central Indiana
Junior Achievement of Central Indiana, in partnership with the business and education communities, empowers young people to own their future success. JA educates and inspires young people in the areas of career exploration, employability/life skills, entrepreneurship, financial literacy and philanthropy through hands-on, experiential learning opportunities for children in kindergarten through high school. For more opportunities to get involved or volunteer visit: jaindy.org.