Our Impact

Inspiring and empowering young people

JA Central Ontario: Start Here

Imagine a world in which young people have the skillset and mindset to build thriving communities. This is the world we are building here at JA Central Ontario.

But what exactly does that mean?

It means young people are economically empowered with the skills, confidence and networks to shape their future in a way that works for them and those around them. 

Start a local business? Set up a community food bank? Land the job of their dreams? Save for that trip of a lifetime to Europe? Buy their grandma a Ferrari? No matter what they dream of, through JA Central Ontario they will build the skills, practice the thinking and meet the people who will help them get there. 

That’s why we’re modernizing our approach to impact – and our brand identity – to reflect this ambitious, youth-centred vision for the future.

OK - but why? And why now?

We don’t need to tell you things are looking pretty scary for young people right now. Two years of a global pandemic, drastic changes to the world of work, an impending recession… students are feeling it all. 

And employers too: employers are having to radically rethink the workforce in a post-COVID, tech-first world - just as this new generation is entering the workforce. To put it bluntly, it’s a brave new world out there, and we want to make sure students have the power to navigate it. 

Here’s how we know JA is needed, now more than ever:

  • 75% of young people are worried about whether their generation can succeed in life1
  • 59% of Ontario students in grades 7-12 say the pandemic has made them feel depressed about the future2
  • 53% of Gen Z admitted the pandemic upended their financial security, and only 58% think they’ll do better financially than their parents3
  • Employers are telling us that certain social and work-readiness skills - like adaptability and creativity - are lacking as they create the workforce of the future4

Here at JA, we want to empower young people with the skillset and mindset to turn these anxieties in hope, optimism and inspiration. 

We know that when youth believe in themselves and in their communities, they can change the world. We also know that experiential learning – getting hands-on with real-world topics – is a sure-fire path to self-belief and owning your success.

Through unique learning experiences and our dedicated network, JA students develop the skills, connections and confidence to shape the future. We’re here to empower a new generation with the tools, attitudes and role models to achieve anything they set their minds to. 

We work with students to build a wide range of skills and connections, and nurture their self-belief – as a result, JA youth are prepared for the future of work, think entrepreneurially, and have the tools to be financially capable adults.

Real-world skills for a new generation

With the support of the JA network of partners, volunteers and educators, young people across our region are empowered with the employment and entrepreneurship skills they need right now—and in the future.


Work Readiness: Preparing Youth for the Jobs of the Future

Young people can’t be what they can’t see. Our volunteer-led work-readiness experiences bring the work of work to life for students. Whether job shadowing skilled mentors, testing their skills through digital experiences, or developing solutions during business challenges, JA students are prepared for the future of work.

Icons_Finantial Literacy - Credit Cards

Financial Health: Developing Financial Independence

Young people deserve to be introduced to financial concepts that’ll shape their life at a young age. JA’s hands-on, role-playing financial health experiences do just that.

From smart saving and investing, the role of taxes, to the value of employment and community involvement – JA students know exactly how their financial decisions can shape their futures and be a force for good.


Entrepreneurship: Cultivating an Entrepreneurial Mindset

To shape the future, young people need the power to build and influence the business world.

Through JA’s real-world entrepreneurship programs, students learn how to develop innovative products or services, finance a start-up business, creatively market their creations, and launch their careers as entrepreneurs or intrapreneur.