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MetLife Foundation Honors JA Operations Worldwide For Excellence And Innovation
PITTSBURGH, July 24, 2014 /PRNewswire/ --Twelve JA (Junior Achievement) operations worldwide have won the 2014 MetLife Foundation 'Entrepreneurial' and 'Sowing the Seeds of Entrepreneurship' Awards. Both award categories focus on excellence, innovation and entrepreneurial approaches to program development that enable youth to own their economic future.
Eight JA operations won the MetLife Foundation Entrepreneurial Award, which includes $25,000 each for their innovative programs and processes that have been implemented with good results and strong potential for replication and adaptation. In addition, four JA operations won Sowing the Seeds of Entrepreneurship Awards of $10,000 each to advance promising, but untested program concepts.
JA and MetLife Foundation have been partnering since 2000 on the identification, recognition and funding of innovation by JA operations around the world and expanding selected programs to generate greater impact on the young people they serve through annual awards. Over the past 14 years, 83 Entrepreneurial Awards and 13 Sowing the Seeds of Entrepreneurship Awards have been given to 61 JA operations in 18 countries.
2014 MetLife Foundation Entrepreneurial Award Winners:
- JA of Rhode Island: Education Awareness Week
An initiative designed to recognize the work of JA teachers and volunteers by engaging government, community, business, and education leaders in a week of activities that highlight the need for quality education. With the overall goal of supporting educational excellence across Rhode Island, there is a specific focus on urban and urban-ring schools to both close the educational gaps and expand opportunities for their students.
- JA of Northern New England: JA Skills To Achieve
The creation of a new program aimed to provide a unique one-day enhanced onsite corporate experience for high school students while making meaningful youth educational engagement more accessible for corporations.
- JA of South Dakota: Enhancing Volunteer Experiences
The development of supplemental training videos, accessible online anytime, for JA program volunteers to both enhance their training and teaching experience and provide an invaluable resource all JA Areas within the U.S. can utilize. The videos have been viewed over 8,300 times since October 2013.
- JA of Oregon and SW Washington: Money JAR (JA Radio) Podcast
Money JAR is a podcast created to reach youth who do not have access to JA. Focused on kids, families and money matters, the show addresses economics education as well as common financial challenges. The 48 episodes developed so far have been distributed through top social media and other digital platforms, with a total of 13,652 downloads.
- JA Zimbabwe: The Career Launch Pad
Aimed at strengthening the JA Success Skills program, the Career Launch Pad introduces 3-5 month internships for student participants to ease school to work transition. 20 organizations, comprised of private, small or medium sized enterprises and NGOs, hosted 57 youth, 37 of which were hired at the end of the internship term.
- JA Brazil: JA Company Program Survey
A survey conducted with 200 students who had participated in the JA Company Program between 4-11 years earlier to measure the long-term knowledge retained, behavioral impact and overall effectiveness of the program, as well as identify areas for program enhancement. Results showed that one in every 4 students created a company, over 50% had begun volunteering and 82% wanted to study and complete their post-graduate studies.
- JA Hong Kong: JA Career Dimensions
A JA alliance with the government and private sectors brought the first JA Career Dimensions program to Hong Kong, reaching a total of 1,500 students across 13 high schools. It is a first of its kind program that offers a comprehensive, integrated and interactive career and work readiness platform to identify students' career interests, foster career aspirations and design their career future.
- JA Romania: Testing Centre
The redesign of the internal pre/post-program testing and feedback collection processes into a national centralized, online testing and communication center. It provides access to relevant statistical data both for assessing program quality and impact, as well as running national level research on issues in the educational system.
An additional $25,000 for the most outstanding innovation was shared this year by two JA operations: JA of Oregon and SW Washington and JA Hong Kong. With the additional award, each organization received a total of $37,500.
2014 MetLife Foundation Sowing the Seeds of Entrepreneurship Award Winners:
- JA Rocky Mountain: JA Matters User-driven Brand Campaign
A campaign that would be launched to understand the importance and impact of JA through an online crowdsourcing platform (microsite) that invites people to share why 'JA Matters' to them. Given the unique nature of a JA experience, this platform will allow JA to capture, preserve and share the diversity of impact and increase engagement among JA supporters.
- JA of Western Massachusetts: Building an Educational Ladder to the Future
This program would partner colleges with elementary schools to bring JA to students in Kindergarten to 5th grade, where the 5th grade students go to college and college students go to the elementary school to participate in JA in a Day. It is designed to build on existing JA college and business partnerships and to inspire elementary school aged children to think about going to college.
- JA Columbia: New Company Program
An additional component to enhance the JA Company Program will be developed to help participants transform their entrepreneurial ideas into legally operating companies. Through the provision of supplementary sessions explaining the administrative, regulatory, legal and financial steps to setting up their businesses, participants will gain both key knowledge and learn the importance of compliance.
- JA Sweden: Smart Business
Smart Business is a web-based eLearning module that supports the achievement of higher levels of financial literacy among Company Program participants through a modern and interactive way and further equips teachers to deliver the financial aspects of the Company Program with ease. The technology will allow for learning at different paces and online review of student progress.
Dennis White, CEO and president of MetLife Foundation says, "Innovation and an entrepreneurial spirit are critical to achieving scale and increasing impact. With their diverse programs, all of the award-winning JA operations exemplify these traits and demonstrate their value in making a difference in the lives of millions of young people looking to build a secure future. Congratulations to JA and the 2014 award winners for their dedication and excellence."
"We are delighted with the 14-year role MetLife Foundation has played in supporting our ongoing efforts to cultivate creativity and innovation in JA programming, nurturing inspiration and the entrepreneurial spirit across the global 123-country JA network, and to drive greater impact for the young people we serve. This collaboration is rooted in continuous innovation, long-term commitment and compatibility of goals. Together we are working to enhance the future economic potential of young people around the world," said Sean Rush, President and CEO of JA Worldwide.
About JA Worldwide (Junior Achievement):
JA Worldwide is one of the largest global NGOs dedicated to addressing fundamental social and economic challenges of young people by educating and empowering them to transform their future and own their economic success. Through cutting-edge, experiential learning in financial literacy, work readiness and entrepreneurship, JA Worldwide effectively broadens the canvass of possibility for young people and enriches their ability to contribute to the strength of their families, communities, and economies.The 123-country JA Worldwide network is powered by more than 400,000 volunteers and mentors from all sectors of society, reaching over 10 million young people around the world each year.
For more information, visitwww.jaworldwide.org
About MetLife Foundation
MetLife Foundation was created in 1976 to continue MetLife's long tradition of corporate contributions and community involvement. Since its founding through the end of 2013, MetLife Foundation has provided more than $600 million in grants and $70 million in program-related investments to organizations addressing issues that have a positive impact in their communities. Today, the Foundation is dedicated to advancing financial inclusion, committing $200 million over the next five years to help build a secure future for individuals and communities around the world. To learn more about MetLife Foundation, visit www.metlife.org.
SOURCE JA Worldwide
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