JA | ACE welcomes first class to the Academy for Collaborative Entrepreneurship at Embarc Collective

JA Tampa Bay holds inaugural class for their new entrepreneurship program in downtown Tampa

2020 will be a year of firsts and landmarks for Junior Achievement of Tampa Bay, as the organization driven to see young students succeed in the workplace continues to evolve. One such first is the inaugural class at JA ACE (Academy for Collaborative Entrepreneurship) at Embarc Collective – the new tech startup innovation hub located in downtown Tampa.

JA ACE welcomed Jefferson High School ROTC students, who became the first to experience the next advancement in Junior Achievement programming. Prior to their visit, students are given one-class period to familiarize themselves with JA ACE and Embarc Collective, create teams, and introduce potential problems that need to be solved. Upon arriving at JA ACE and Embarc Collective, the students are given a tour of the innovation hub, assimilating to the atmosphere of a tech startup workspace. They are then introduced to the JA ACE Startup Experience program.

Anna Ryan, Director of Programs at JA Tampa Bay, is heading up the entrepreneurship program. After months of planning and preparation, she spoke of her first experience of JA ACE.

“I had great expectations for our JA ACE program, and the students came in and exceeded what was expected,” Ryan said. “The enthusiasm that they came with was outstanding, and they were able find solutions, solve problems, and innovate in a creative way.”

The flow of the day includes business problem and failure scenario solving tasks, creating a business plan, designing and producing marketing advertisements and commercials, and finally presenting their entrepreneurial idea to the rest of the group.

The students are also given an insight into what it means to be an entrepreneur. Entrepreneurs, innovators, creative minds and business leaders sharing their personal success stories, allows students the opportunity to be exposed to role models and mentors in the startup industry.

“I am grateful for the experience I had today in learning about entrepreneurship,” said one student. “I believe that with a lot of hard work and dedication I am able to run my own business someday.”

JA ACE has also partnered with BlockSpaces to bring Blockchain education to high school students. The Blockchain for Teens workshop will be held on February 20, 2020.

Read more

JA holds Job Shadow experience for students across Tampa Bay

JA Tampa Bay partnered with local companies and organizations, bringing career insights to high school students

JA Tampa Bay has teamed up with local high schools and companies to help bring job shadow experience to students. The valuable and experiential opportunity, which began in January and ends later this month, predominantly consists of students who are involved with the Academy of Finance program.

In total, there will be eight days of job shadowing at eight different companies and organizations – these include; PwC, ReliaQuest, Raymond James, AT&T, Grow Financial, The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, Suncoast Credit Union, and USF Federal Credit Union. Students from Brandon, Chamberlain, Jefferson, Armwood, Leto and Steinbrenner high schools will participate in the program.

The companies had volunteer representatives who would demonstrate their job functions, run through the day-to-day activities, and present the students with a realistic example of their potential working environment.

The latest Job Shadow event was PwC’s Future Leaders of Tomorrow Conference, where approximately 100 students were given the opportunity to experience a conference style informative session. Several PwC speakers gave their knowledge and insight into topics ranging from technology to workplace behaviors and ethical responsibilities. Paul Gasca, Application Services Manager at PwC, said how guiding young students was an essential proponent of the program.

“I think that the students can benefit a lot from learning what it is like in a professional environment,” Gasca said. “School is different, they don’t get that professional aspect and teaching them through JA is very helpful for students.”

Julie Porcelli, Program Manager at Junior Achievement of Tampa Bay, stated how important the job shadow experience is for students.

“They get to be immersed in these amazing experiences at leading companies in Tampa Bay,” Porcelli said. “It is paramount that we can show the link between the classroom and career opportunities, creating excitement and a vision for these young students’ futures.”

If you would like to learn more about these opportunities, email: jatampabay@ja.org

Read more

Aspire Financial Services CEO Peter Kirtland joins JA Tampa Bay Board of Directors

Kirtland’s wealth of experience in the financial services industry bolsters JA Tampa Bay’s shared vision of financial literacy

Pete Kirtland is the latest member of Junior Achievement of Tampa Bay’s Board of Directors. The Junior Achievement of Tampa Bay Board is composed of local community leaders with a strong and balanced blend of skills and experience, providing guidance and support to Junior Achievement of Tampa Bay’s staff and volunteers as we strive to uphold our mission.
With 18 years of experience as CEO of Aspire Financial Services, LLC, Pete brings an abundance of knowledge, experience and wisdom to JA Tampa Bay. He has a proven track record of success, and was instrumental in growing a nationally leading retirement solutions company, which use innovative technology and business processes to serve their stakeholders and customers. Kirtland’s leadership allowed Aspire to grow to over $14 billion in plan assets, and over 300,000 participants.
“I am excited to join the Junior Achievement of Tampa Bay Board,” Pete Kirtland said, “Their mission aligns perfectly with what we do every day at Aspire and our parent, PCS Retirement.”
Pete joins the JA Tampa Bay Board at an exciting time. His vision and leadership, alongside other members of the Board, enhances the positive impact that JA Tampa Bay programs can have on the students of the Tampa Bay region.
“I believe that financial literacy should be a core element to everyone’s life, and educating young people is an essential component.” Kirtland said.
To find more about our Board of Directors, click here: https://juniorachievet.wpengine.com/about-us/board-of-directors/

Read more

JA Inspire Career Expo Introduces Hundreds of Students to New Career Opportunities

JA Tampa Bay held their third JA Inspire Career Expo in an event that exposes middle school students to a variety of professions, careers and industries

Junior Achievement of Tampa Bay held their third JA Inspire Career Expo this week, introducing hundreds of young students to new career opportunities and pathways. The all-day event, held at Pinellas Technical College, is a community effort of Junior Achievement, Pinellas County Schools, local businesses, and educators to help shape students’ positive attitudes about their academic or professional futures.

Over 700 middle school students from Dunedin Highland Middle School, Tarpon Springs Middle School, Clearwater Intermediate School, and Lealman Innovation Academy attended the event, while volunteer coordinators were instrumental in the programming and management.

One student said, “I enjoyed learning about health, business, trades and other career fields from experts.”

JA Inspire Career Expo gave almost 60 companies, businesses, education institutions, and organizations the opportunity to reach out to middle school students, forming a future pipeline of potential talent. Research suggests that middle school grades are a crucial time to engage, or reengage students and put them on a path to college and career success and readiness.

“Thank you Junior Achievement for hosting the event,” said one company representative, “It’s refreshing to see young minds so eager to learn and tap into potential opportunities. I very much enjoyed the event and hope to make it out with our team next year.”

Junior Achievement and the Pinellas County School District would like to expand the event to cover all 6,000 6th grade students in Pinellas County schools over the next 3 years. If you would like to know more about the event, get involved as a volunteer, or showcase your company to the next generation of the Tampa Bay workforce; contact kym.mcgee@ja.org

Read more

Silicon Valley Bank and ReliaQuest Partner for #TechGivesBack Day at JA Tampa Bay

SVB Vice President A.J. Fang and ReliaQuest CFO Gregory Farrell head up a volunteer day at JA BizTown

JA Tampa Bay welcomed Silicon Valley Bank Vice President A.J. Fang and ReliaQuest Chief Financial Officer Gregory Farrell to JA BizTown this week. The two companies partnered together in a joint volunteer day, which saw 20 volunteers help 5th graders run the various storefronts at JA BizTown, provide insight into what it takes to run a bustling economy, and offer support for the next generation of Tampa Bay’s workforce.

The joint volunteer day was part of Silicon Valley Bank’s #TechGivesBack initiative, helping raise money, awareness and supporting communities across both the U.S. and several other countries.

“Nationally, our organization looks to support the local communities, whether that is with volunteer time or donations, we want to give back,” said A.J. Fang. “For me, I don’t want organizations such as Junior Achievement to miss out on opportunity, so we wanted to work with our partners ReliaQuest and support JA Tampa Bay.”

ReliaQuest, who are regular volunteers at both JA BizTown and JA Finance Park, have accrued over 1,400 contact hours with hundreds of students. Farrell noted how important the partnership with JA Tampa Bay is for the future of the Tampa Bay workforce.

“It is great to work with JA Tampa Bay from a business standpoint, but to come in and actually see the impact it is making for the kids is incredible. You can see how kids coming through programs like this will have a great advantage and helping educate them on the way is great for our team at ReliaQuest.”

If you would like to know how to get involved as a volunteer with JA Tampa Bay, visit https://juniorachievet.wpengine.com/get- involved/.

Read more