Twenty high school students from Shanghai, China, and 16 high school students from Connecticut will participate in a landmark Junior Achievement (JA) international exchange program, JA Global Connection, sponsored by United Technologies Corporation. Through this program, the students will learn first-hand about American and Chinese business, entrepreneurism, global trade and leadership.
The multi-year program will begin the morning of Monday, Aug. 10, at the Connecticut State Capitol in Hartford, with an opening ceremony that will kick-off a week of lectures, seminars and workshops including guest speakers from United Technologies Corporation and the U.S. Department of Commerce.
Throughout the week, these 36 students will visit United Technologies Corporation’s Otis Elevator test facility in Bristol, Connecticut, hear from a panel of entrepreneurs about their business ventures, and explore international trade issues. The students will also be tasked with developing business plans which will be used by the students during the next school year to trade products and sell them using the framework of the JA Company Program curriculum.
Next summer, the 16 Connecticut students – most from Wallingford’s Mark T. Sheehan and Lyman Hall high schools – will travel to China to complete the multi-year program.
“We are delighted to host this innovative and dynamic student exchange program,” said Lou Golden, president of JA of Southwest New England. “It is critical for students to learn first-hand about the global economy, and we are fortunate to have such great partners as JA China and United Technologies Corporation. By working together, the students from both countries will advance their understanding of the cultures and dynamics which fuel global marketplaces, and will be better prepared for the job opportunities ahead.”
The inaugural JA Global Connection program took place two years ago, when the first group of Chinese students spent a week in Connecticut, working with their American student counterparts. Last year, those Connecticut students reconnected with the students in China to complete the program, which was based at Shanghai Fudan University, and included trips to leading business facilities in China, hands-on workshops led by individuals from academia and the business sector, and case studies and marketing scenarios.
“Cross-cultural understanding will play a key role in each student’s future success in the global economy,” said Gao Yang, Executive Director of JA China. “We are thrilled to work with JA of Southwest New England and United Technologies Corporation to offer this unique opportunity for American and Chinese students to gain a mutual understanding while learning valuable lessons in business, entrepreneurship and global trade.”
The JA Global Connection program is organized by Junior Achievement China, based in Beijing, China, and Junior Achievement of Southwest New England, based in Hartford, Connecticut.
“When looking for a corporate partner, JA Southwest New England and JA China identified United Technologies Corporation as a perfect fit,” said Golden. “As a leading multinational corporation, United Technologies Corporation recognized the importance of this program and its relevance to preparing students for real-world work.”
“United Technologies Corporation is a long-standing partner to Junior Achievement, and is excited to support the continued growth of this innovative and successful program,” said Jill Albertelli, Pratt & Whitney, vice president, NGPF-30K Programs. “Through our commitment to advancing STEM education, United Technologies Corporation endeavors to inspire students and the next generation of engineers, scientists and professionals, and it is our hope that this partnership and program build on that commitment and encourage these students to seek out careers in those fields.” Pratt & Whitney is a United Technologies Corporation company.
Since 1998, United Technologies Corporation and its business units have donated more than $3 million to JA. In 2008, United Technologies Corporation helped redevelop the fifth grade curriculum for “JA in a Day” to include math and science concepts as a way to introduce children to opportunities in the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields.