ELKHART — Junior Achievement of Northern Indiana recently set a goal to add 120 programs to its Elkhart County roster in the 2013-14 school year. To accomplish this, the organization has partnered with Horizon Education Alliance.
Junior Achievement asks local business leaders to volunteer to teach children about finances in the classroom. About 30 of these programs happened in Elkhart County schools in the 2012-13 school year, and the goal is to reach 150 programs in the coming year.
Alysha Liljeqvist, program director for Elkhart County Junior Achievement, said Friday that the organization is hoping to have more of a presence in high schools as well as elementary and middle schools.
“Our first goal right now is educating the community (about Junior Achievement),” Liljeqvist said Friday, July 19. “We are looking to educate the business community because that’s where we are going to find our volunteers and helping teachers understand the value of having Junior Achievement in their classrooms, because it does start with the teachers.”
She said that Junior Achievement curriculum coincides with Common Core standards, so teachers can feel confident about using class time for the program. Lessons students receive though Junior Achievement include age-appropriate instruction on entrepreneurship, financial skills and workplace readiness.
Liljeqvist will be working out of Horizon’s office in Goshen.
Brian Wiebe, executive director of Horizon Educational Alliance, said Friday that Horizon is also focusing on educating people about finances. “Financial literacy has been stated as one of our goals, so that’s partly why we were eager to have those discussions (with Junior Achievement of Northern Indiana) about a partnership,” Wiebe said.
He continued, “Junior Achievement approached us because we already had the relationship with all seven school systems. Both sides felt a partnership would help the Junior Achievement initiative. Junior Achievement was pretty strong in this county about five years ago and activity has just diminished.”
Liljeqvist said that Junior Achievement programming is particularly focused on helping students gain 21st-century skills and providing positive role models in the business world.
Any teacher or local business person and interested in participating in Junior Achievement may contact Liljeqvist at 574-612-0225 or firstname.lastname@example.org.