Junior Achievement of Tampa Bay’s response to the COVID-19 virus

Following  The State Department of Education, and local school districts, Junior Achievement of Tampa Bay will continue to postpone physical programming until schools return. Our virtual learning resources still remain accessible for students, parents, volunteers and teachers.

Here are the actions JA Tampa Bay is taking immediately:

The Bill Poe Family Junior Achievement Campus, the home of our two capstone facilities; JA BizTown and JA Finance Park will be closed. Schools and volunteers will be notified and dates rescheduled.

All in-person and volunteer-driven Junior Achievement programming in schools or in after-school settings will be postponed, or delivered virtually.

JA ACE at Embarc Collective will be closed until further notice. Schools, volunteers, and speakers, to be notified or rescheduling.

If you are a volunteer, educator, parent, or business partner who has an event, meeting, or commitment to JA Tampa Bay, feel free to reach out and we will address your concerns with direct communication from our team.

We are still determined to prepare our future generations to own their economic success through our programs and will continue to develop innovative ways in which we can best serve our community. Your continued support of our students is greatly appreciated.

Thank you.

Please continue to monitor our website and social media for updates concerning Junior Achievement of Tampa Bay activities.

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Junior Achievement Hall of Fame 2020 postponed until further notice

Junior Achievement Hall of Fame 2020 postponed until further notice

In light of President Trump’s address to the nation this evening, and protocol and advice from the CDC and health officials, we regret to inform you that Junior Achievement Hall of Fame 2020, due to take place on Thursday, 12th March 2020, is postponed until further notice.

We fully appreciate your support of Junior Achievement of Tampa Bay, and do not take the decision to postpone the event lightly. However, due to the current Coronavirus/COVID-19 situation we have taken the difficult decision to postpone the event for the safety of our attendees.

Junior Achievement of Tampa Bay prioritizes the health, safety and wellbeing of all of our staff, volunteers, partners, stakeholders and friends. CDC and World Health Organization recommendations are to enact protocol of avoiding mass gatherings and public events. Therefore, we want to ensure that precautionary measures are taken to prevent any additional spread of COVID-19, and we do not wish to pose any unnecessary risk to your wellbeing.

Our Hall of Fame means a lot to us as an organization, therefore, we will be working diligently with our event organizers to reschedule the celebratory occasion for a later date. This will be communicated to you as we understand more information regarding health and safety measures for the current situation.

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JA Tampa Bay Health and Safety Update

Last updated: 3-10-2020

Junior Achievement of Tampa Bay’s primary focus is keeping our students and volunteers safe, healthy and able to enjoy their visit to our campus. To do so, we are working closely with Hillsborough and Pinellas County Schools to prevent the spread of COVID-19. With both school districts consistently monitoring the situation, we are continually in communication with the necessary authorities to ensure our students, volunteers, and staff are safe and healthy.

Any students, staff, teachers or volunteers feeling sick or unwell, should not visit our campus and should remain at home. We have been in consistent communication with our volunteers and partners to assure them that our campus is following the strictest of health and safety guidelines.

Currently, the risk to the Tampa Bay area remains low for the general public, yet Junior Achievement of Tampa Bay are proactively maintaining our high standards of sanitation, disinfection and cleaning. We are currently employing the following best practices:
• Campus facilities, electronics and technology, chairs, door knobs/handles, and any touchable areas are being disinfected daily.
• We are ensuring soap, paper towels and hand sanitizers are available in all facilities, including hand sanitization stations at all major points of entry on campus.
• Staff have been instructed that if they feel unwell, they should remain at home.
• Staff, students and volunteers are all instructed to frequently wash hands to prevent the spread of germs.
• We continue to emphasize good hygiene practices with flyers posted on campus.

We would like to thank all of our volunteers, corporate partners, and friends of Junior Achievement of Tampa Bay for their continued faith in our mission of empowering students to achieve their dreams.

We ask parents, families, employees, volunteers and companies to stay up-to-date on information, employ disease-prevention strategies, and trust only reliable sources including those found below:


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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.

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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

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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/.

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