For every three students in the hallways of Philadelphia's Public Schools, only two will make it to graduation, while one will drop-out making it difficult and unlikely to achieve life success. Worse yet, statistics show 81% of those who graduate will not possess the "soft skills" employers are seeking or sufficient knowledge of the free market system to be entrepreneurial in creating companies or behaving in ways to drive success where they find careers.
But "what if" we were able to work with some of the most socio-economically challenged young people, provide them knowledge and tools - and importantly motivation and enthusiasm - that will lead to the successful careers and the lives which they inwardly desire. Could such an initiative provide a platform not only for those students but for those who will come after them and who will have witnessed the elder student’s metamorphosis from victims of their family circumstances to change-makers for themselves and those that their reinvigorated lives will touch? That is Junior Achievement's big question, and we believe that this project presents the opportunity for long-term impact in the most positive of ways.
"Continuum JA" is a new effort to provide deep free market learning experiences for at-risk students in the Philadelphia Public Schools. Embracing 750 students year one and 3,000 by year three, each youth will receive grade-specific JA programs plus efforts in partnership with other community youth serving partners coordinated by JA, with emphasis on Financial Literacy, Workforce Readiness and Entrepreneurism. JA programs have been aligned with Common Core Curriculum and Pennsylvania education requirements and are welcomed by teachers as they help achieve year-end outcomes that support matriculation. Through hands-on activities that drives strong knowledge retention, this continuum of programs will build annually, providing a depth of free market education that will drive career and life success.