Junior Achievement Announces Plans to Operate Jr. Apprentice Program

Junior Achievement of Southwest New England is proud to announce that it is adding the Jr. Apprentice program to its portfolio.  The Jr. Apprentice program, which has connected Hartford youth to mentors and provided work experience in fields of interest– was to shut down this year.  Instead, the program has been given a second life by Junior Achievement, which will be adding the initiative to its growing roster of work-readiness, entrepreneurship and financial literacy programs.

“Our programs help prepare young people for the real world by showing them how to build a secure financial future, how to create jobs which make their communities more robust, and how to apply entrepreneurial thinking to the workplace,” said Jeremy Race, President and CEO of JA of Southwest New England. “The Jr. Apprentice program is a perfect fit with our commitment to young people, and the vibrancy of our workforce and communities.  We look forward to extending the work that the Consortium so capably began, and to involving more teens in this excellent program.”

The Hartford Consortium for Higher Education, which launched Jr. Apprentice in 2013, announced recently that the program was being discontinued.  It had operated primarily with students attending Bulkeley High School, providing about 20 teens each year with an opportunity to develop important work readiness skills, open a bank account, and acquire a paid internship at a local business.

Apprenticeships – such as those in the Jr. Apprentice program - are a prime example of experiential learning.  Teens gain technical and social skills in a vocation of their interest, through close mentorship from an adult. Additionally, apprenticeships allow current employers to develop the local workforce and attract high-caliber youth to their field.  The program also provides youth an opportunity to apply what they have learned in school, and gain tangible experience aimed at a future career.  

“The continuation of Jr. Apprentice is good news for students and employers,” Race added.  “It is a skill-building initiative that makes a difference not only in individual lives, but in the life of our community.  We add it to our array of effective programs enthusiastically, as one more way we can help young people prepare to navigate their future and achieve success, and contribute to the region’s economic development efforts.”

In the program’s previous years, Jr. Apprentices have been students in their Junior Year at Bulkeley High School. Apprenticeships have been about 3-6 hours per week, for four months (February-May). Students are identified for the program through school officials during the fall.  The apprenticeships involve meaningful work through which Jr. Apprentices learn more about a mentor’s career and business, and develop skills to be successful at work. With the transfer of the program to JA of Southwest New England, officials anticipate that increased elements of JA’s close to 30 programs will be integrated into the Jr. Apprentice experience.  Additionally, JA plans to expand the student internship opportunities to include job placements at companies and in industries that inner-city youth may not typically be exposed to.

Junior Achievement – celebrating its 100th anniversary this year - is the world’s largest organization dedicated to giving young people the knowledge and skills they need to own their economic success, plan for their future, and make smart academic and economic choices.  Last school year in Connecticut, with the help of more than 3,300 volunteers - business professionals, parents, retirees, and college students - JA of Southwest New England taught more than 47,000 Connecticut students about business, jobs, and the importance of education for success.   In 2019, Junior Achievement of Southwest New England was awarded one of Junior Achievement USA’s highest honors for the fourth consecutive year: the Five Star Award, in recognition of its growth in student impact and superior fiscal performance.

To learn more about Junior Achievement or to inquire how your business can host a student intern this school year, please contact Jeremy Race at 860-525-4510 or jrace@jaconn.org.

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