The onset of COVID-19 has impacted nearly every facet of our day to day lives, one of which is youth employment. Teenagers who might have taken on summer jobs, or who work part time during the school year, have been impacted by the shifting workforce and economy. As a result, many have not only missed out on earned income, but they have lost the opportunity to gain valuable skills that prepare them for the future.
Junior Achievement (JA) is partnering with Ramsey County Workforce Solutions to support these youth through our new program, JA Generation Future. Over the course of three weeks, unemployed Ramsey County teenagers ages 16-19 are taking part in JA programs such as JA Personal Finance, JA Career Exploration, and JA Finance Park, while also connecting with business volunteers who share a real world perspective on various topics. Participants are learning concepts such as opening and managing a bank account, budgeting, paying for college, and saving for the future. Additionally, youth are exploring career opportunities, assessing how their skills and interests translate to the workforce, and building career maps to guide their next steps. After completing the program, students receive a $350 stipend to help cover lost wages due to unemployment.
Over the course of two cohorts this fall, 160 students will have the opportunity to take part in JA Generation Future, with the second group launching in November. During this challenging year, JA is grateful for Ramsey County’s support in making this program possible. Students are walking away with an even greater understanding of how what they are learning in school will prepare them for life as an adult. Their testimonials elevate the importance of enhanced education programs like JA as they find inspiration in a virtual world:
“It’s OK to explore your options and change your mind about what you want to do.”
“I enjoyed learning more about how I can get into the career field and where I can get started.”
“Don’t give up and just keep trying.”