Junior Achievement

JA (Junior Achievement) is a non-profit organization dedicated to educating students about work readiness, entrepreneurship and financial literacy through experiential, hands-on programs. In partnership with business and educators, JA programs help prepare young people for the real world by showing them how to generate wealth and effectively manage it, how to create jobs that make their communities more robust and how to apply entrepreneurial thinking to the workplace. Students put these lessons into action and help strengthen their communities. JA classes, which are taught by community volunteers during the regular school day, are being started in Lac qui Parle County, beginning with K-1 and adding a grade each year thereafter. (Get program updates.)


How long has JA been around?

JA was founded in 1919, initially offered to high school students as an after-school program. In 1975, the program moved to the middle grades and subsequently to grade school. JA is in over 100 countries, with over 7 million students each year.

How successful is participation in JA?

JA uses a third-party company to evaluate its programs (Worldwide Institute for Research and Evaluation). Students who participated in JA could recall critical information related to the free enterprise system. Findings suggest that participation in JA created an enduring understanding of several key economic concepts that are broader and more sophisticated than students who did not participate in JA, including JA’s Elementary School Program, over multiple years.


What are the programs?

Kindergarten – Ourselves – Students are introduced to basic personal economic issues and the roles individuals play as workers, consumers and family members.

Grade 1 – Our Family – Students learn about the role of families in the local economy, the jobs they have and their economic needs and wants.

Grade 2 – Our Community – Activities that demonstrate the responsibilities of and opportunities available to citizens in their economic community.

Grade 3 – Out City – Students conduct business operations, make city-planning decisions and examine economic development issues.

Grade 4 – Our Region – State economies, the economic resources of regions and decisions businesses must make about buying and selling resources.

Grade 5 – Our Nation – Provides practical information about businesses need for individuals who can meet the demands of the job market, including high-growth, high-demand jobs. It introduces the concept of globalization of business as it relates to production materials.

JA Dollars and Sense – For students in 3rd-5th Grade. Students learn financial and business kills through innovative activities and games that focus on earning, spending and saving money.

JA BizTown – Grades 5th – 8th operate a replica of a real city and learn first-hand how to become productive community citizens, consumers and workers in out free enterprise system.

JA Global – Provides practical information about the glob al economy and its effect on students’ lives. The Program illustrated how countries’ resources affect their cultures, governments and economy. It also explains the benefits of international trade key global economic issues.

What is the cost?

The current cost is $200 to $215 per classroom, which includes the teacher’s guide, student workbooks and materials needed for the activities.

How long is the program?

It consists of five one-hour long sessions. The classroom teacher and volunteer determining how best to schedule the program

JA Advisory Board

  • Luanne Fondell – Farmer Credit Services (FCS), Dawson
  • Lee Gunderson – Gunderson Woodworks, Dawson
  • Kirk Meseck – Pastor, Faith Lutheran Church, Madison
  • Jeanene Munsterman – Community Volunteer Member, Madison
  • Thomas Nelson – Community Volunteer Member, Bellingham
  • Angela Shelstad – Community Volunteer Member, Madison
  • Cory Thorsland – Prairie Sun Bank – Milan/Appleton
  • Karen Trost – Prairie Five- Community Volunteer, Marietta, MN