How do young people really feel about their financial futures?

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Junior Achievement (JA) in Ontario welcomes the support of the Ontario Skills Development Fund. This funding will impact approximately 2,000 Ontario students through JA’s Building a Stronger Future initiative – a youth entrepreneurial program specializing in the Trades and Technology sectors. The project will be delivered by a combination of JA charters across Ontario, and highly skilled volunteers who specialise in the Trades and Technology sectors.

“Junior Achievement (JA) in Ontario welcomes the support of the Ontario Skills Development Fund, in JA’s Building a Stronger Future initiative – a youth entrepreneurship initiative specializing in the Trades and Technology sectors” says Jennifer Holmes Weier, President and CEO at JA Central Ontario. “In partnership with JA charters across Ontario, this initiative will leverage JA’s signature Company Program, teaching high school students to think like entrepreneurs, learn essential skills, support their employability, and inspire them to consider careers in the trades and technology sectors.”

Entrepreneurship skills for the skilled trades and technologies

JA’s mandate is to equip youth with the skills they need to succeed in a changing world. This project will provide high school youth with the opportunity to do just that by connecting them to technology and skilled trades career pathways, building critical life skills, initiating behavior changes and enabling them to be better prepared for jobs so they can contribute to the future economic recovery of communities across Ontario.

The skilled trade sector continues to face a shortage of skilled workers, as well as gaps in essential skills such as problem solving and critical thinking that are critical to the future of the industry. JA in Ontario will build a stronger future by addressing these issues. The initiative will begin by building awareness of the demand for trades and technology careers. Youth will gain understanding of what the pathways look like through a province-wide virtual event, led by skilled volunteers, which includes interactive activities, workshops and labour market information presentations.

Leveraging JA's Company Program experience

At the heart of the project is JA’s flagship learning experience – Company Program. Through a combination of in-school lessons, after-school events and hands-on experience, Company Program empowers students to create, develop, and run a business with the support of experienced volunteer mentors. Following the initial introductory event, this blend of real-world experience and a safe, structured learning environment will ensure approximately 800 students develop the foundations for a successful future in these vital sectors.

Another large-scale virtual event at the project close will enable youth participants to celebrate their accomplishments and network with industry representatives from across Ontario. This event will focus on identifying tangible ways their education, training and skills development align with the needs of the local labour market and employers in technology and trades sectors.