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ECONOMICS REPORT - Junior Achievement Teaches Business Skills to Young People

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This is the VOA Special English Economics Report.

Junior Achievement is an international movement to educate young people about business and economics. The purpose is to help them prepare to succeed in a world economy.

Vesna Jeremic, left, leader of Podunavlje County, Serbia, purchases ''stocks'' from students in Junior Achievement
Vesna Jeremic, left, leader of Podunavlje County, Serbia, purchases ''stocks'' from students in Junior Achievement

The organization is the largest of its kind. JA Worldwide says it reaches about seven and one-half million students each year in nearly one hundred countries. Programs begin in elementary school and continue through middle and high school. The education is based on the ideas of market-based economics and entrepreneurship.

Junior Achievement began in nineteen nineteen in Springfield, Massachusetts. Two business leaders, Horace Moses and Theodore Vail, joined with Senator Murray Crane of Massachusetts to start it.

For more than fifty years, Junior Achievement programs met after school. They began as a group of business clubs. The organization started with a small number of children ages ten to twelve.

But in nineteen seventy-five, Junior Achievement began to offer classes during school hours. Many more young people joined the organization once it began to teach business skills as part of the school day.

Volunteers from the community teach about businesses, how they are organized, and how products are made and sold. They also teach about the American and world economies, the money system, industry and trade.

The Junior Achievement Company Program teaches young people how entrepreneurship works. They learn about business by operating their own companies.

The students develop a product and sell shares in their company. They use the money to buy the materials they need to make their product, which then they sell. Finally, they return the profits to the people who bought shares in the company.

Junior Achievement says more than two hundred fifty thousand volunteers support its programs around the world. In the United States alone, there are more than twenty-one thousand places that hold Junior Achievement events.

Junior Achievement Incorporated and Junior Achievement International combined their operations in two thousand four. They formed Junior Achievement Worldwide. Its headquarters are in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

And that's the VOA Special English Economics Report, written by Shelley Gollust and Mario Ritter. Transcripts and archives are at www.unsv.com where you can also find a link to the JA Web site, ja.org. I'm Faith Lapidus.

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