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Junior Achievement

Our Commitment to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

Junior Achievement USA is committed to ensuring diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) is at the center of everything we do. We at Junior Achievement are dedicated to providing a positive, enriching learning experience free of bias that promotes greater economic opportunity and equity.

Junior Achievement welcomes K-12 students, volunteers, educators, staff, and other partners and stakeholders, regardless of race, religion, age, gender, national origin, disability, sexual orientation or any other legally protected characteristic.

Junior Achievement: Lines

Kayla

Junior Achievement has not only allowed me to be a part of a family of students that have a shared passion of entrepreneurship, but it has impacted my future career by sparking an interest in the business field.

- Kayla,
JA Student

Defining DEI

The key to ensure diversity, equity, and inclusion is achieved is through consistency among our internal and external stakeholders.

Diversity

Diversity embodies inclusiveness, mutual respect, and multiple perspectives and serves as a catalyst for change resulting in equity. It includes all aspects of human differences such as socioeconomic status, race, ethnicity, language, nationality, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, religion, geography, disability, and age, among other characteristics.

Equity

The proportional distribution or parity of desirable outcomes across groups. Sometimes confused with equality, equity refers to outcomes, while equality connotes equal treatment. Where individuals or groups are dissimilarly situated, equal treatment may be insufficient for or even detrimental to equitable outcomes. An example is individualized educational accommodations for students with disabilities, which treat some students differently to ensure their equitable access to education.

Inclusion

A core element for successfully achieving diversity, inclusion is created by nurturing the culture and climate of the institution through professional development, education, policy, and practice. The objective is to create a climate that fosters belonging, respect, and value for all and encourages engagement and connection throughout the institution and community. In schools, inclusion often is used to refer to the practice of mainstreaming children with disabilities in general education classrooms.

Transparency Statement from Junior Achievement

Junior Achievement is a federated network of 104 offices that reflect local communities across the United States. While ethnic diversity hasn't always been displayed in every Junior Achievement territory, our Area offices are committed to ensuring diversity, equity, and inclusion is at the center of all endeavours in the present and future.

Junior Achievement USA has undertaken a thorough review of its learning experiences to ensure they are reflective of the communities we serve. This includes engaging subject matter experts in diversity, equity, and inclusion.

With the support of the CITI Foundation, Junior Achievement has implemented the Paradigm Reach platform, an online training site for JA associates dedicated to advancing awareness, knowledge, and skills that promote diversity, equity, and inclusion.

Arnold Evans

Through its programs, Junior Achievement provides pathways to economic mobility for young people, offering them the tools and resources to help them understand how their choices can lead to better opportunities in life.

- Arnold Evans,
Chair, Junior Achievement USA Audit Committee, Enterprise Ethics Officer & Executive Vice President at Truist

Our Ongoing Commitment to the Future

Junior Achievement is committed to promoting Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in every facet of what we do. In fact, the goal becoming an organization more representative of the communities we serve is one of three main objectives outlined in the Junior Achievement National Strategic Plan. To help achieve this goal, Junior Achievement has undertaken the following actions:

  • The creation of the Junior Achievement Justice, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (JEDI) Network. The JA JEDI Network is an employee-led group designed to foster diversity, equity, justice, and inclusion across the Junior Achievement network of offices. With nearly one-in-seven JA Associates participating in the JA JEDI Network, the group brings education, understanding, and a greater appreciation of DEI to a critical mass of JA Associates across the country.
  • Launching initiatives to ensure that JA learning experiences are representative of the communities Junior Achievement serves. This includes enlisting DEI subject matter experts to review JA educational materials, testing and updating JA digital and learning platforms to make sure they are accessible under the guidelines of the Americans with Disabilities Act, and translating JA programs to better meet the needs of ESL students.
  • Forming partnerships with organizations that expand JA’s engagement with diverse communities across the country.
  • Being responsive in our organizational culture so that Junior Achievement is an “employer of choice,” regardless of a candidate’s socioeconomic status, race, ethnicity, language, nationality, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, religion, geography, disability, and age.

Bill Verzal

I'm so pleased to supplement kids' education and prepare them with some basic, vital life skills and career advice.

- Bill Verzal,
Principal System Analyst, Discover Financial Services

Creating a More Equitable and Just Tomorrow

Economic inequity has been a reality in the U.S. throughout its history, and it continues to this day. A 2020 study by the Brookings Institution shows that the median net worth of white families in America is ten times greater than that of Black families. Hispanic men earn nearly 15 percent less than their white counterparts for similar work requiring comparable skills and education. For Hispanic women, it is 33 percent less.

Junior Achievement is committed to creating a more equitable and just tomorrow by promoting economic empowerment through our learning experiences focused on financial literacy, work and career readiness, and entrepreneurship. Over the past decade, Junior Achievement has reached nearly 20 million Black and Latinx students. A recent survey of JA Alumni by Ipsos shows the kind of impact Junior Achievement has had on these students:

Junior Achievement gave me confidence in new situations

60% Black Alumni
45% Hispanic Alumni
49% White Alumni

Junior Achievement influenced my decision to pursue further education

58% Black Alumni
51% Hispanic Alumni
45% White Alumni

Junior Achievement positively impacted my future choices and perceptions

96% Black Alumni
95% Hispanic Alumni
93% White Alumni

Alumni that have started one or more businesses during their careers

60% Black Alumni
52% Hispanic Alumni
51% White Alumni

Pew Research Center, February 7, 2020
Examining the Black-white Wealth Gap, Brookings Institution, February 27, 2020
The Hispanic-white wage gap has remained wide and relatively steady, Economic Policy Institute, July 2, 2018

Astra Zeno

Through JA's strong curriculum and well-trained volunteers, my students were not only able to see themselves as entrepreneurs, but also as confident leaders... Read More

- Astra Zeno,
Educator

Why JA? And Why Now?

Adam Arroyos, PhD

JA ensures every student has the resources and support needed to have the confidence and capability to achieve their life goals. Its proven methodologies for the inspiration and empowerment of students have positively impacted many lives over the past 100 years. I'm honored to serve such an amazing organization and its important mission.

- Adam Arroyos, PhD,
Chief Executive Officer, SERVE2PERFORM

Get Involved with Junior Achievement!

If you would like to volunteer, request a program, or volunteer with JA,
please reach out to a JA near you!

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