What is JA?
JA is the largest youth education organization in Canada focusing on entrepreneurship, financial literacy and work readiness. JA serves students from coast to coast, and works in partnership with educators, volunteers and businesses to help youth expand their potential, engage in their own economic development, contribute to the strength of their community and Canada’s economy.
JA Southern Alberta reaches over 27,318 students each year with the help of volunteers and community partners who share in our mission to inspire and educate young Albertans to succeed in the global economy.
What age groups does JA target?
JA Southern Alberta offers in-school and after-school programs for students grade 5-12. Visit the Programs page for more information on programs available in your area.
What kind of lessons and activities are in each program?
JA programs are all about experiential learning. Our volunteers use a mix of hands-on activities, discussions and digital learning to engage students in the program. Volunteers bring their personal and professional experiences into classrooms and after-school programs to help students connect the program concepts with real-life situations.
What will my students get out of this?
JA programs equip students with the necessary skills to achieve success, and help them develop confidence, leadership and critical thinking skills in these three areas:
- Financial literacy
- JA students save more and borrow less than the average Canadian. Students learn how to create and manage wealth. They develop real-world skills that they can apply to their lives immediately, like setting a budget and establishing financial goals.
- Work Readiness
- JA inspires students to stay in school and prepares them to succeed in the workforce. Students learn how to translate their interests and skills into successful careers, and develop practical job skills like interviewing, communication and critical thinking.
- JA graduates are 50% more likely to open a business. Students are encouraged to embrace their entrepreneurial spirit by experiencing the full lifecycle of a business. Many business leaders cite JA’s Company Program as the catalyst that gave them the ambition to launch their own enterprise and the skills to do so successfully.
Are there registration deadlines?
- Regions – 6 weeks prior to desired date
- Calgary/Airdrie – We strongly recommend June when registration opens, as programs are usually waitlisted by summer break
Are JA programs offered free to schools? How can you do this?
Yes! All of our programs are free of charge to schools. As a not-for-profit organization, JA receives donations primarily from community-minded corporations and individuals. You can see a list of our donors here on our site.
Who are JA volunteers?
JA volunteers come from a variety of industries, including: energy, technology, finance and business services, tourism, retail, and transportation to name a few. Our volunteers are executives, managers, communications professionals, sales people, small business owners, customer service representatives, human resource managers, consultants, retirees… the list goes on!
Our volunteers, no matter their professional background, all share one common goal: to educate students and inspire them to achieve their highest potential.
Do JA volunteers receive training?
All volunteers participate in program training. Training includes a review of the lessons and activities of the program, as well as some teaching tips and classroom management guidelines. JA volunteers have a range of experience levels in the classroom, and some are more experienced than others. Please remember that JA volunteers are guest speakers!
What is the teacher’s role?
Teachers should provide an enthusiastic and supportive environment for their volunteer. Teachers should maintain order and discipline, assist the volunteer with activities if needed, and support an environment that is conducive to learning. Feel free to inform the volunteer of any behavioural or learning challenges, and give your volunteer an overview of your class’ dynamic and how to best engage your students.
If you are the lead teacher contact for JA programs at your school, you are the main contact between JA, participating teachers and school administrators. To ensure that you, your students, fellow educators and classroom volunteers have the most successful program delivery, please keep in contact with your JA Program Coordinator and respond to requests in a timely manner.
May I select my own volunteer for the JA program?
Absolutely! Many teachers have great success involving parents, friends or relatives as volunteers in their classroom. We are happy to engage these folks as volunteers and set them up with training and materials.
How can JA assist me in teaching my curriculum?
JA programs enhance your existing curriculum! We offer a range of programs created in partnership with curriculum developers from Canadian school boards. View curriculum links for each program on the Programs page
What materials will the volunteer use in the classroom?
JA provides all of the program materials needed. The program kit for each class contains a step-by-step Inspiration Guide for volunteers, a Preparation Portfolio for each student, and the remaining materials and game pieces needed for the program. There is also a JA Canada Digital Resource Portal for volunteers to access interactive games and videos.
We ask that all unused materials be returned to JA.
How long does the program last?
This depends on the program and region. Typically, our elementary and middle school programs take place in-school over the course of one morning (first period through until the lunch bell).
Enhancing Career Pathways Project
The Calgary Board of Education (CBE) and Junior Achievement of Southern Alberta (JASA) are undertaking a project that will contribute to the transformation of public education in Alberta by creating a new opportunity for students in non-traditional career paths. With the recent approval for project-based programs of study, CBE and JASA are collaborating on the development, pilot and evaluation phases of a new financial literacy program for non-traditional career pathway focused high school students – the Enhancing Career Pathways Project. This partnership will produce customized versions of the Junior Achievement (JA) Company Program for high school students not readily exposed to financial literacy education opportunities due to their respective career pathway selection (i.e. Fine Arts, Trades, Health Services, etc.).
Company Program inspires students to understand the role of business and entrepreneurship by learning business concepts while creating and operating an enterprise of their own.
We piloted the first pathway, The Entrepreneurial Artist, in April 2014 and full delivery in school started September 2014. We will continue to build out additional pathways – the first of which will be the Trades Pathway. The Trades Pathway will be developed from May to December 2014 and piloted in 2015 with full roll out in schools in early 2016. The Health Services, Media, Culinary, and Cosmetology pathways will be considered thereafter.