As our largest funder, Citi’s impact reverberates across the globe. From Senegal, Sweden, and Indonesia to Egypt, Ecuador, and the United States, Citi Foundation funds programs that boost business skills, offers microloans that empower women, and creates innovation camps that challenge motivated students to aim even higher. Through JA, Citi’s 2,000 volunteers give students access to mentorship and apprenticeships, while 60 Citi employees serve on JA boards around the world.
Supporting JA in each of its six regions and across 52 countries, Citi Foundation remains one of JA’s largest and most global corporate donors. Citi Foundation provides capacity building support to our global operations and funds critical research on the state of youth entrepreneurship, workplace skills, and financial literacy. Studies funded by Citi range from JA’s report on the state of global youth unemployment, Generation Jobless, to Citi's own groundbreaking study, Accelerating Pathways, which examines young people’s economic ambitions—and features two JA alumni.
Additionally, Citi Foundation sponsors the Citi Remarkable Customer Service Award at each regional JA Company of the Year competition, recognizing the student company that best seeks to foster greater customer value.
For more information about the Citi Foundation, visit www.citifoundation.com.
The year saw the expansion of the MetLife LifeChanger program from four to 12 markets across MetLife’s Europe, and Middle East and Africa region. Through MetLife LifeChanger, local MetLife offices and associates partner with local JA operations to deliver mentoring, coaching, and job-shadowing to students across the age spectrum. At age 8, students gain an understanding of the economy and their role in it; at 13, students learn how their skills and talents translate into entrepreneurship; at 17, students turn ideas into action and gain real-life workplace experience. After high school, students develop a startup concept, create an investment proposal, and start a viable business. Students are then eligible to compete for a spot in the national and regional Company of the Year competitions.
Among the European programs that MetLife Foundation supports with dollars and local MetLife offices with volunteers are JA Europe’s Job Shadow Day, JA Achievement for Life in Bulgaria, JA Innovation Camp in the Czech Republic and Turkey, JA More than Money in Greece, JA Personal Economics in Poland, JA Skills for Success in Spain, a Risk Management Programme in Russia, and Dragon’s Den (a business-pitch event) in Ireland.
In addition, local JA operations worldwide shared $230,000 through the fifteenth round of the MetLife Foundation Entrepreneurial Awards Program. Eight operations won the $25,000 MetLife Foundation Entrepreneurial Award for innovative programs and processes that have been implemented with good results and strong potential for replication and adaptation. Three won Sowing the Seeds of Entrepreneurship Awards of $10,000 each to advance promising, but untested, program concepts.
HSBC understands that financial literacy is the lynchpin of financial success. That why the global bank has partnered with us for the seventh year to bring JA More Than Money and other financial-literacy programs to more than 60,000 students worldwide. Through after-school hands-on activities and a program designed to support a variety of learning styles, students discover how to earn, save, invest, donate, and track their spending. Students use innovative thinking to master money-management skills, become smart consumers, and find out how to earn income by starting a business. In addition to building on their understanding of money basics, students begin to recognize the significance of money management and deepen their understanding of the relationship between what they learn at school and how they can succeed in a global economy.
The program serves young people in both developed and developing countries and is implemented by over 1,000 HSBC volunteers, who lead interactive discussions, games, and online tools. Students leave the program feeling empowered to think about their future and the role they’ll play in their communities.
GE Foundation and our Global Education Initiative equip students with 21st-century skills: innovation, creative problem-solving, design thinking, lean methodology, and the ability to generate diverse and inclusive ideas. The Education Initiative combines a rich tapestry of JA programs, including JA Money Management workshops at the elementary- and middle-school level and STEM innovation workshops, job shadowing, and career training at the high-school and university levels.
One- or two-day JA Innovation Camps across Asia Pacific also use innovation as a tool for problem-solving, teamwork, and project-based learning, while preparing students for careers in IT or computer science. JA Our City is a learning module developed in partnership with the GE Foundation that introduces students to how people and businesses in cities manage their finances.
Advanced Technology Workshops expose high-school students to cutting-edge developments in technology and give them applied STEM training. JA Job Shadow demonstrates real-world challenges while giving students a potentially lifelong connection with a mentor. And Career Go Workshops offer university students in tech majors an app to develop the much-needed soft skills they may lack.
Since FedEx began collaborating with us nearly a decade ago to expand JA Company of the Year competitions, our regional contests have gone on to inspire young people around the world to learn entrepreneurial skills, make a positive impact on the lives of others, and set the stage for future success. Now held in all six regions, JA Company of the Year competitions create a platform for JA Company Program students to showcase their companies, introduce their products to a broader audience, and gain access to a wealth of ideas, mentors, and other resources. But competition is fierce: Each year, more than 400,000 students hope to reach the regional level, but fewer than 600 earn the opportunity to compete.
Among the most distinguished honors at each regional final is the FedEx Access award, given to the student company that best demonstrates a comprehensive understanding of international trade and develops a product or service with the ability to succeed globally. The FedEx Access Seminar, delivered to all competitors, teaches students environmentally conscious business practices, the importance of international trade, and the community advantages of job creation. Thanks to FedEx’s generosity, students are receive iPads and selfie sticks as part of their award packages.
Bechtel’s partnership with JA blends a passion for STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) with workforce readiness and entrepreneurship education. Through the JA Building Future Leaders program, Bechtel volunteers bring their engineering and construction expertise into the classroom, introducing the vast career opportunities available in STEM fields to young people around the world. Students emerge from the program knowledgeable and enthusiastic about STEM opportunities and effectively enabled as the next generation of innovators.
The JA Building Future Leaders program combines a targeted set of JA programs, including JA Our Nation, JA Economics for Success, JA It’s My Business! JA It’s My Future, JA Career Success, JA Be Entrepreneurial, JA Job Shadow, and JA Company Program. Each program encourages volunteers to share their experiences with students, while giving them turnkey, student-friendly materials and activities that increase student interaction.
Bechtel’s worldwide support also allows us to expand our curriculum into untapped areas, delivering coaching to students who might not otherwise have the opportunity to experience such enrichment programs. JA Gabon, for example, formed in 2013 as a direct result of Bechtel’s investment. Now, the entire country’s youth population benefits from JA’s programming that simply wasn’t available three years ago.
Our partnership with Alcoa Foundation, now in its third year, has made a significant impact in raising youth interest in STEM-based careers. Alcoa Foundation’s signature program, JA Assembling Your Career, offers three 45-minute digital-learning sessions that are available in English, Spanish, French, and Portuguese. Students access their skills and interests, and then link them to high-growth, high-demand careers. Alcoa volunteers and classroom teachers then use their own experiences to engage middle- and high-school students in STEM-based activities. Career discussions aren’t limited to those requiring college diplomas or advanced degrees, but also include high-tech skilled trades that require a two-year degree or an apprenticeship. By partnering with Alcoa, we’re bringing STEM education and career readiness to young people and inspiring the next generation of scientists, engineers, and coders.