July 31, 2018 2:33 pm

Exploring career opportunities, students benefit from the work readiness focus of JA Personal Success

Listening attentively to Heather Kingsley, a volunteer from Western Union, students at Rock Canyon High School gain insights into the characteristics and skills employers look for in new hires.  JA Personal Success, presented by Western Union, is a standout JA program that teaches young people the personal success skills that will help them find and keep jobs in their areas of interest.

The program was launched by JA and Western Union in 2017 to provide skills training and workforce preparation for Denver-area high schoolers.

State education standards place a strong emphasis on college and career readiness. In particular, the standards require students to demonstrate self-awareness of their own individual talents, interests, hopes and passions. They also expect students to have the skills and knowledge necessary to map out and pass the academic courses required to achieve postsecondary goals.

“JA Personal Success aligns perfectly with the state standards,” said Janna Robinett, business teacher at Rock Canyon High School in Douglas County. “Students identify and research careers of interest, learn the steps in the hiring process, and develop a personal brand.  This past spring, Western Union’s human resources department also conducted one-on-one mock interviews with 40 members of the Rock Canyon 2018 senior class to help strengthen their skills and confidence; it was fantastic!”

Junior Achievement’s evaluation data from the 2017/18 school year indicates that JA Personal Success provides solid learning for students in JA’s pillars of financial literacy, work readiness and entrepreneurship, and outcomes were especially strong when it came to increasing students’ life skills, attitudes toward school and optimism about their futures.

“After participating in JA Personal Success, students gain knowledge about careers and are more work-ready,” said Sarah Breen, JA data manager. “The program fills an important need as a career-readiness curriculum.”

In addition to supporting JA Personal Success, Western Union also participates in JA in a Day and the JA Golf Classic, and employees team up to raise funds for JA through their JA Bowl-A-Thon. In 2018, Western Union bowlers raised nearly $59,000 to support JA students.

“We highly value Western Union’s contributions to JA,” said Kristi Shaffer, executive vice president for JA. “They have partnered with us since 2007, providing volunteer support and more than $700,000. Their recent support of JA Personal Success has made a significant difference in providing students with hands-on experiences to prepare them for their futures.

“We recently recognized Western Union volunteer Heather Kingsley as JA’s 2018 Advocate of the Year for her tremendous efforts to recruit volunteers and Bowl-A-Thon participants from among her colleagues, and for her own personal commitment to our mission!”

Through their corporate foundation, Western Union works with NGOs around the world to provide workforce enablement programs and business/entrepreneurship initiatives. To learn more, go to: https://foundation.westernunion.com/.

 

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