Microsoft’s Partnership with Junior Achievement Gives Students Glimpse into the Tech Work World

Editor’s Note: Last week we announced Microsoft YouthSpark a new company wide initiative that aims to create opportunities for 300 million young people. A key part of YouthSpark is the work we are doing with nonprofit organizations focused on helping young people access education, employment and entrepreneurship.  Globally, our nonprofit cash grant recipients have been carefully selected with a focus on these specific outcomes. In the United States we’ll be focusing the majority of our nonprofit cash grants on five national nonprofit partners Boys & Girls Clubs of America, City Year, Junior Achievement, NFTE and Year Up. We wanted to share how they will be working as part of YouthSpark and today Jack Kosakowski, President and CEO of Junior Achievement USA shares his perspective.


By Jack E. Kosakowski, President and CEO of Junior Achievement USA®

At Junior Achievement USA (JA), we have been working to empower young people to own their economic success for nearly 100 years. It is through new and innovative partnerships that we are able to keep providing the most current, inventive and engaging programs for the more than 4.2 million students we serve across the United States each year.

Through the recent Microsoft YouthSpark program, Junior Achievement USA is excited to be one of five nonprofit recipients of Microsoft’s generous contributions that serve youth around the world. The decision by Microsoft to invest time, money and talent into further educating the next generation shows their commitment to helping people realize their full potential and to creating economic opportunity.

Junior Achievement is joining forces with Microsoft to provide high school students across the United States with real-life work experiences in Microsoft retail stores. Through the JA Job ShadowTM program, students are introduced to careers through on-site mentoring experiences. This authentic work-world experience teaches students effective interviewing skills, how to prepare resumes and how to evaluate their work-readiness skills.

As new Microsoft stores open across the country, JA students will learn more about Microsoft as a company, how the Microsoft stores operate and the different roles and responsibilities of Microsoft employees. Later this week, on Friday, Sept. 28, the first two JA Job Shadow events will take place in Long Island and Westchester, New York. There will be more than 30 other locations across the country that will participate in the JA Job Shadow experience with JA students in the year ahead.

Providing JA students with job shadow experiences helps them learn the educational background and skills they need to succeed on the job. Students can see firsthand what a day in the work world is like. Junior Achievement thinks it is important to bring students into the business world through classroom instruction followed by on-site mentoring in which students get to work with their job shadow host—in this case, Microsoft.

Junior Achievement strives to be a leader in relevant 21st century learning and is continuing to create innovative methods of delivery for our programs in order to enhance our students’ experiences.

The job shadow experience will give students a hands-on opportunity to meet Microsoft employees, and learn about various positions available at Microsoft. JA Job Shadow inspires students to be entrepreneurial in their approach to work by introducing them to innovative and creative solutions in the workplace. Additionally, they learn the basic skills that will make them valuable assets to any employer.

Introducing the next generation of workers to the wide array of talent and expertise at Microsoft will help Junior Achievement fulfill its mission to inspire and prepare young people to succeed in a global economy. Junior Achievement looks forward to working with Microsoft on this exciting and innovative partnership.

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