JA: A Stop on the Path to Equity
Posted in: JA Impact
Junior Achievement is committed to promoting a more equitable and just tomorrow. Our shared future depends on how prepared today’s kids – from all backgrounds – are to navigate the realities they will face as adults. Lasting, institutional change is only possible if the people most likely to benefit are prepared with the information and skills necessary to navigate a changing landscape.
At JA, we are committed to reaching a diverse student population, supported by diverse volunteers and partners – we want the JA family to reflect the beauty and dimension of our own community. This includes diversity in areas such as race, ethnicity, culture, gender/gender identity, economic background, education, language, physical and mental ability, and more. Our community will be strengthened by a robust, shared commitment to support all AZ students.
DEI efforts have been a strategic priority for JA for the last several years. Recent events have reinforced this priority and allowed us to fast-track many initiatives to reach the most under-resourced and underserved student groups in our state, with particular emphasis on addressing the vast disparities between families of color compared to white families in the areas of education, income, opportunity, access to resources, funding, intergenerational wealth, and numerous others.
We know that education – specifically around financial literacy and career-readiness – is an equalizer in the world of opportunity. Junior Achievement’s proven approach gives today’s kids that power in the form of financial capability, career and work readiness, and entrepreneurship. These skills will not only improve their lives but will bolster their families, their communities, and our nation.
We thank you for coming alongside us in our mission. For our children. For our state. For our future.
Junior Achievement’s approach is demonstrated to give students the tools they need to increase their chances of achieving economic security and entrepreneurial success:
- 45% of Junior Achievement alumni say JA influenced the way they manage money, based on a 2020 JA Alumni survey by Ipsos
- The survey reported 85% of alumni say Junior Achievement played an important role in fostering a belief they could achieve their goals
- 60% of Black alumni, 45% of Hispanic alumni, and 49% of white alumni say Junior Achievement gave them confidence in new situations, according to the Ipsos survey
- The survey demonstrated 60% of Hispanic alumni, 52% of Black alumni, and 51% of white alumni have started one or more businesses during their careers
- According to the same survey, 45% of JA Alumni businesses employ more than 20 people, compared to 12% of U.S. small businesses (U.S. Census Bureau)
- 90% of JA Alumni reported being confident in managing money in a 2016 JA Alumni survey
- The 2016 survey also shows a statistically significant shift in those reporting an increase in their standard of living between childhood and adulthood, a strong indicator of economic mobility
Current Strategic Efforts
- Commitment to further diversifying our student reach
- Prioritizing schools with high populations of students that are under-resourced, and/or are minority
- Partnering with other nonprofit organizations and government groups to reach vulnerable youth populations – specifically focused on foster care and juvenile detention centers
- Piloting a career-readiness and entrepreneurship program, specifically enrolling two cohorts of minority youth in Arizona
- Increasing access to JA programs
- Developing free, online Spanish content
- Creating more virtual programming for students in rural areas to have equal opportunity to receive JA
- Commitment to further diversifying volunteer demographics
- Focusing our hiring outreach in under-resourced communities, including posting job boards on minority orientated pages
- Commitment to diversifying our board of directors to better represent the Arizona population and the students served by JA
- Commitment to obtaining more bids and working with minority-owned and operated vendors
- Created and maintaining an open employee forum discussion group for continuous learning
- Created a local employee committee to spearhead internal DEI education
- Leading a group of JA Area Presidents across the country in a JA Presidents DEI Task Force
- Commit HR partner to a national committee to drive and influence companywide policies