When Junior Achievement-Rocky Mountain (JA) high school students learn the ins and outs of the global economy, they don’t sit idly in a classroom. They compete in an exciting, realistic simulation of the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, trading and cheering throughout the high-energy game with teammates from their schools. The Fall 2019 JA Stock Market Challenge, presented by Wells Fargo, was powered not only by the program’s advanced technology, but also by the enthusiasm of local JA volunteers and generosity of corporate partners. More than 1,450 students were impacted by JA Stock Market Challenge in Denver this fall.
“I definitely didn’t expect the event to be like this,” says Avery, an Evergreen High School student whose team took first place in one of the sessions. She connected her learning experience to the real world, saying, “The stock market affects everyone every day, whether you’re in the workforce, or even if you aren’t.”
Avery’s teammate, Gavin, agrees. “The market fluctuation doesn’t just impact people who invest in the stock market, it impacts everyday people – what they own, what they want to own, and their money. We figured out how events going on in the world can also affect it significantly.”
While the goal of the JA Stock Market Challenge is to help students gain a greater financial savvy and understanding of how the stock market will relate to their future personal finances, the impact expands well-beyond. Supporting partners, such as Wells Fargo, Oracle, McKinsey and Company, Businessolver, and Denver Business Journal find that their involvement in JA Stock Market Challenge has a lasting positive effect on their companies too.
“We wanted our employees to have an outlet to give back,” says Businessolver Foundation Manager Phonsavanh Sullins, who helped coordinate the company’s partnership and volunteered at the event herself. “Giving employees those opportunities to become advocates for an awesome charity organization adds to our phenomenal workplace culture, as well as to the community.”
JA partners also know that their contributions are building a stronger future workforce. Wells Fargo employee and returning JA volunteer Suren Ranchhod says, “Events like this help grow the economy, because financial education is going to have one of the largest impacts on the next generation.”
One of the biggest takeaways from JA Stock Market Challenge was learning the importance of teamwork, according to the Evergreen High School team. They concluded, “Our team was strong because of our communication, and our success came from team chemistry, a little yelling, and dedication.”