To read evaluations of specific JA® programs, please visit our Impact page.

Why JA? Case Statements

Why JA: Economic development & Entrepreneurship

According to the Review of Economics and Statistics, business startups
are responsible for 20 percent of gross job creation. Unfortunately, even
though these nascent businesses play an important role in promoting
economic development, the number of new firms as a percentage of all
businesses has dropped by nearly half since the 1970s, according to the
U.S. Census. Since 2008, the annual number of new business closings
outpaces the number of business startups, notes the Brookings Institute.
This is the first time there has been a continuous net loss of new businesses since the collection of this data began in the 1970s. Read more >>

Why JA: Financial Literacy and Capability

According to the National Foundation for Credit Counseling, only 2 in 5
adults say they keep track of their finances with a budget. In the same
study, 1 in 3 adults carry a credit card balance month-to-month, and nearly
just as many have nothing saved for retirement. The Urban Institute notes
that 77 million Americans, or more than one-third of Americans with access
to credit, have debt in collections. On the education front, MK Consulting
notes that 1 in 4 college students acquires too much debt to pay off their
share of the $1.3 trillion national student loan debt in a reasonable amount
of time. Combined, these and other factors are resulting in the inability of
too many Americans to be financially secure enough to save for retirement, cover medical expenses, or deal with unexpected emergencies without risk of bankruptcy or other financial challenges. Read more >>

Why JA: Graduation Rates & College Readiness

According to the U.S. Department of Education, the high school
graduation rate hit a record high of 82 percent in the 2013-14 school
year. Despite this positive news, the overall graduation rate is still off
pace to achieve the GradNation campaign’s goal of 90 percent by
2020. The graduation rates of African-American and Hispanic
students are also improving; however, they remain behind those of
their white peers. Additionally, once graduating high school, only 59
percent of students enrolling in college complete a four-year degree
within six years, according to the National Center for Education Statistics. Read more >>

Why JA: Social MObility and Escaping Poverty

It’s commonly assumed, and proven through research, that household
income impacts the social mobility of children within that household. The
children of middle to upper income families have more advantages in
education, greater exposure to opportunities, and a better understanding of
career readiness and money management than children from lower income
homes.Children raised in households with lower incomes or who experience
impoverished living conditions are at distinct disadvantages. However, there
is also research that indicates children who move from unsupportive neighborhoods to supportive ones, even if they are of a lower income, have a better chance of positive social mobility and escaping the cycle of
poverty.

Why JA: STEM Career Awareness

The growth in jobs requiring Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math
(STEM) skills continues to rise at a significant rate, according to the
National Science Foundation. As the foundation notes, the greatest
increase is in non-STEM careers that require STEM proficiencies. The
boom in robotics and automation is not only increasing the demand for
professionals with STEM skills, but is also eliminating many jobs currently
held by low-skilled employees, according to MIT. As more industries face
workforce shortages due to the lack of skilled candidates, many low or
unskilled workers are going without jobs. The question is, “How do we
ensure this generation of young people understands the importance of STEM and what it could mean for their future career prospects?” Read more >>

Why JA: Work Readiness and the Skills Gap

According to staffing provider Adecco USA, 92 percent of senior
executives in the U.S. believe Americans aren’t as skilled as they
need to be, and 44 percent say they lack necessary soft skills, such
as critical thinking, communication, collaboration, and creativity. A
2013 study by ACT found that such skills are “foundational” to
predicting success in the workplace and are critical to the effective
application of technical or “hard” skills.

Studies & White Papers

The 2018 JA Teens & Personal Finance Survey

In March of 2018, Junior Achievement USA and AIG surveyed 1,000 teens between the ages of 13 and 18 to gain a better understanding of their perceptions as they relate to personal finance and financial decision making. This is a summary of those findings.

JA USA - 2017 Teens and Entrepreneurship Survey

In October 2017, Junior Achievement USA and EY joined to survey parents and teens about their opinions regarding entrepreneurship. The survey was conducted by ORC International, with more than 1,000 teens and 1,000 parents of teens participating. This is a summary of those findings.

JA USA - JA® Alumni report (2016-2017)

In the spring of 2016, Junior Achievement USA (JA®) conducted a survey of a scientifically valid sample of more than 700 JA® Alumni. The intent of this research was to better understand the impact JA® has had on the lives of the more than 100 million people who have gone through Junior Achievement programs since the organization’s founding in 1919. The JA® Alumni were asked about a variety of topics, including educational attainment, career satisfaction, financial capability, income levels, and business ownership. These results were then compared to general population data from a variety of sources, including the U.S. Census, the U.S. Department of Education, and the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor. This report summarizes those findings.

Ja USA and KPMG Sponsored Curriculum Evaluation - Ja Finance Park® (2016)

This report describes findings from a national impact evaluation of JA Finance Park conducted in 2015 by RMC Research Corporation. The first section provides a description of the methodology used to conduct this evaluation. Findings of the implementation portion of the study are presented next, followed by the research findings on program impact. Recommendations are presented following the impact findings. The Appendix contains copies of the instruments used for data collection and technical details on the findings.

JA Finance Park® Summative Evaluation for KPMG - Program Impact Final Results (2015) 

This document summarizes the final results from a national impact evaluation of JA Finance Park® conducted in 2015 by RMC Research Corporation and the Junior Achievement USA Education Group. Included are the evaluation strategy and protocol, and the results including knowledge gain, attitude change, and other areas of interest. 

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CRude facts: the winners and losers of low oil prices

When trying to understand the causes of changes in any price, factors driving movements in supply and demand are the most important place to focus. Beyond this, when trying to understand movements in a price sent in global markets, such as oil, both economic and political forces will often be interacting. It appears that oil, and thus gasoline prices, will remain well below prices prevailing in 2014. 

2016 Teens and personal finance survey

There has been much in the news about the $1.2 trillion in student loan debt owed by Americans. Proposed solutions to the student debt issue have ranged from debt forgiveness by the government to free college for everyone to encouraging young people not to pursue a college education at all. Survey respondents had a different take on the issue, with nearly two-thirds (65%) saying it is the responsibility of the borrower to pay off their student loans, compared to one-in-ten (11%) who said it was the responsibility of the government.

Understanding the student loan explosion (2016)

Americans owe more than $1.2 trillion in student loan debt. This paper, Understanding the Student Loan Explosion can help your students better understand the issues surrounding student debt and make better informed decisions about paying for higher education. It also offers a look at how Junior Achievement® can help in these discussions.

SHRM Research: Workforce readiness and skills shortage

There may still be some disagreement among economists over whether skills shortages are having a signifi cant effect on hiring, but SHRM research suggests that many HR professionals are having trouble finding applicants with the right skills and qualifications for a substantial number of jobs. Deficiencies range from basic skills, such as written communication, to applied skills like problem-solving and collaborative thinking, and lack of expertise in math and science. SHRM and its members are actively working to close the skills gap, but this effort will take time and most likely additional
investment by local, state and federal government as well as employers.

Can Startups save the american Dream?

The identity of America is intrinsically entrepreneurial. It is an indelible part of our collective history. We have the right to pursue self-defined goals however we choose to define them. This is the American Dream on offer to everyone regardless of circumstance: With enough hard work anyone can use entrepreneurship to pave their own way to prosperity and strengthen their communities by creating jobs and growing their local economy. 

Entrepreneurship is a widely dispersed, crucial element of the U.S. economy. It
comprises a rich tapestry of sizes, industries, and aspirations. They are all part
of the same web of economic growth—one that is vital to strengthening the middle class.


entrepreneurship at a glance 2015

Entrepreneurship at a Glance contains a wide range of internationally comparable measures of entrepreneurship designed to inform analysis and policy on entrepreneurship and entrepreneurs, reflecting their important contribution to innovation, employment and growth. A positive perception of entrepreneurship seems to coincide with a voluntary attitude towards entrepreneurship in a country. Yet, the economic context interferes with
individual aspirations.

Generation Jobless

Without substantive intervention, young people across the globe will face a future of stagnant or declining incomes, declining standards of living, and vulnerability to criminal and insurgency activities. At JA Worldwide, we believe that fixing this crisis will require the concerted effort of corporations, governments, educators and NGOs over the coming years. Although some good work is already underway, the scale and magnitude of the problem demands a redoubling of the remedial efforts of all involved.

2015 impact of volunteers study

In March 2015, Junior Achievement USA® (JA USA) unveiled the results of a six-month research study about the impact of volunteers delivering education-oriented youth development programs. The study was sponsored by JA USA and employed a neutral, third-party contracted researcher. The purpose of the study was to explore and quantify the value of using volunteers in JA USA programs by examining the most scientifically rigorous data and research available in the public domain. 

2015 Teens and personal finance Survey

Junior Achievement's 2015 Teens and Personal Finance Survey, sponsored by The Allstate Foundation, reveals a surprising disconnect between teens' and parents' views around paying for college and managing money.

Taking it Digital: New Opportunities for Volunteer Service

Junior Achievement, with the help of partners like Citi, is scaling volunteer engagement using technology and a blended learning approach. See what students and teachers have to say about this new model that supports the JA Education Gateway.

Millennials & College Planning

The rising cost of college is spurring many young adults to re-evaluate their post-secondary education options. See what Millennials are saying about it.

Are Students Prepared for the Workplace? 

Business leaders claim that the generation of students entering the workplace lacks many critical "soft" skills like problem solving and critical thinking, abilities that contribute to an individual's and an organization's success. Explore Junior Achievement's new proposed model that links a foundation of recognized knowledge, skills and attitudes to measurable engagement and achievement activities. The application of this model can potentially lead to a student who is credentialed to be "workforce ready," fully prepared to contribute meaningfully upon entering a 21st century global workplace.

2014 Teens and Personal Finance Survey

Junior Achievement's 15th Teens and Personal Finance Survey examines teens' and tweens' attitudes and behaviors around managing money. Data collected from young people ages 8-13 are included for the first time in this year's survey.

Millennials and entrepreneurship

See what Millennials are saying about becoming entrepreneurs, and how mentoring can play an important role in start-up business growth.

Millennials and Social Good

Millennials have very different ideas than other generations about volunteerism and their preferred ways of supporting their favorite causes.

Millennials and Money

How do Millennials manage their money? Are they more frugal or more extravagant than other age groups? See what the data say.

Millennial Tech Evolution

It's no surprise that Millennials interact with technology very differently than other generations. Get the scoop here.

financial capability in the United States

Over the past five to six years, the financial resilience of the American people has been tested to a degree that had not been seen for many decades. Managing one’s finances is a complex set of challenges in the best of times, requiring a combination of skills, judgment and resources. In today’s volatile economic environment, the challenges are especially acute and the downside risks are great. In 2009, the FINRA Investor Education Foundation commissioned the National Financial Capability Study to assess and establish a baseline measure of the financial capability of American adults. The 2012 Study aims to update key measures from the 2009 Study and to deepen exploration of topics that are highly relevant today.

2013 Teens and Careers Survey

Today's teens want to pursue careers that will provide both financial rewards and job satisfaction. To gauge teens' perspectives on their ideal careers and what steps they will need to take to get on their desired career path, Junior Achievement USA and the ING Foundation recently conducted their 12th annual Teens & Careers Survey.

The Role of Common Core Standards in College and Career-Readiness Education

America's schools face unprecedented challenges to prepare students for postsecondary education and entry into the U.S. and global workforce. Discover how programs developed by JA USA directly support the goals of the Common Core State Standards Initiative at elementary, middle, and high school levels to ensure students are college and career ready.

Junior Achievement: A Solution to the Workforce Skills Gap

The workforce skills gap has a significant impact on our nation's productivity, economy, and global competitiveness. Learn more about this issue and how Junior Achievement is addressing it, by teaching students how to apply the knowledge they learn in the classroom to real-world problems and equipping them with the skills they need to be college- and career-ready.

Junior Achievement Graduation Pathways

As a complement to its focus on helping all students understand the importance of staying in school, Junior Achievement is helping to positively impact one of the biggest economic and social issues facing our country—the high school graduation rate. Read about JA's comprehensive study to develop a model focused on increasing this important metric.

2011 Free Enterprise Survey

Junior Achievement USA and the National Chamber Foundation recently conducted the first-ever national survey of high school juniors' views of entrepreneurship, free enterprise and capitalism.

The Entrepreneurial Workforce

Read the results of a Junior Achievement/Gallup survey about the current state of the American workforce and what can be done to make our workforce more competitive.

JA Creates Alumni Success

Junior Achievement reached out to its alumni to help determine the long-term impact of JA programs. Our alumni are more than twice as confident that they can successfully compete in a business environment, compared to adults without JA experience. Check out the impact report results for more information!