Thanks to the investment of our global funders and individual donors, more than ten million young people in over 100 countries are leading their generation as skilled employees, smart savers, and local job creators.
Nearly half a million volunteers and mentors deliver our unique, real-world programs, which emphasize the three pillars on which JA was built: work readiness, financial literacy, and entrepreneurship. JA students not only build the proficiency they need for today’s workforce, but also learn to seamlessly retrain their skills and refocus their careers as the jobs of the future change and grow. Our young entrepreneurs continue to move the employment demand curve by expanding global job opportunities through the businesses they build. And the young people in our financial-literacy programs gain both the tools and the opportunities to own their economic success.
Woven around and between our three pillars is a focus on both social innovation and science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM), which leads JA students to integrate technology into everyday life while serving a social need, solving a local issue, or finding additional ways to improve the world around them.
As we approach 100 years of educating and advocating for young people in every corner of the world, we recognize that much work remains in order to ensure that no young person is left behind. Today’s youth face a global employment crisis that will impact their career opportunities and financial well-being for the rest of their lives, due in part to the changing nature of work itself, which is widening the gap between the needs of employers and the skills of young people. We take seriously the challenge of our second century, in which we intend to serve exponentially more students through technology, innovation, and global partnerships. We hope you’ll join us in our journey.
JA. Ready for the future.
The future of jobs has long been unpredictable. In the last century alone, inventions of the automobile, semiconductors, and the internet decimated entire industries. But the carriage maker who retooled the workshop to repair automobiles was positioned for a new stream of income. The vacuum-tube engineer who took interest in and mastered the burgeoning uses of transistors and other semiconductors thrived in the world of modern electronics. And editors and publishers who reinvented themselves as digital-content experts found lucrative careers during the recent downturn in book publishing.
There’s little doubt, however, that industry-wide disruptions today are happening faster than ever before. Never have we lived at a time when two-thirds of today’s five year olds are predicted to work in jobs that haven’t yet been invented. Never in history have we seen a generation as large as GenZ. And, in too many parts of the world, youth unemployment among 18–29 year olds stands at an all-time high.
In spite of this flurry of uncertainty, our studies show that individual resilience, creativity, self-confidence, and an entrepreneurial mindset can be learned. At JA, we’re preparing an entire generation for the next disruption in the future of jobs by teaching the skills they need to anticipate the changes ahead. Whether in a small village in Peru or a high rise in Hong Kong, each year, we educate over 10 million young people in the areas of work readiness, financial literacy, and entrepreneurship, enabling them to fully participate in the prosperity and abundance the world has to offer. As a result, our alumni start more companies and hire more employees, and their firms produce significantly larger annual sales than those led by non-alumni. They’re also less likely to drop out of school, face unemployment, or collect social insurance. Our alumni are three times less likely to spend more than they earn, and they save more and hold less debt. When compared with the general public, JA alumni also report higher levels of household income and career satisfaction.
As young people learn the skills to achieve full employment, manage their finances, and start their own businesses, their ambitions look beyond their own financial reward. We’ve developed customized experiences to prepare and foster future social entrepreneurs—students who aspire to start companies that serve a social need, solve a community problem, or otherwise improve the world around them. We believe that each generation of JA alumni can become a global force for good.
But will that be enough? Reaching ten million young people each year represents a fraction of the world’s youth population, and JA is one of the largest NGOs working in this area. How can we make a dent? The answer is that we cannot operate in isolation, but must continue to use our position as a global leader in youth education to work with volunteers, teachers, schools, governments, corporations, and other NGOs to catalyze and amplify our collective success. Through the power of partnership, we can effectively multiply our impact:
We’re designing collaborations and making innovative investments in technology and human capital to enable JA to amplify our reach.
We’re executing partnerships within the JA global network and with selected best-of-breed providers who benefit from our distribution to schools and students in over 100 countries.
Our alumni, too, are part of our network of influencers that help us magnify our impact, leaving traces of what they’ve learned on everyone they meet. We recently published an article on the World Economic Forum (WEF) blog that describes JA’s ripple effect on youth unemployment and global poverty. It begins with our theory of change, which is that, of all the skills we teach young people that prepare them for life, the one with the greatest multiplier effect is self-efficacy—the belief that plans will turn into action—which propels individuals to future success. Confidence in their own self-effectiveness leads young people to continue to move toward their goals, in spite of disappointments and failures along the way.
Our programs aim to deliver self-efficacy in two ways: Our students not only learn by doing, but also learn that doing moves them closer to their goals. JA’s experiential education connects the classroom to the real world, which directly associates “school” with “employment and financial success” in students’ minds. Hands-on learning may take the shape of a game in JA More than Money, which teaches about earning, spending, saving, and starting a business without feeling like school. Students may also role-play, as they do when they attend JA Biz Town and JA Finance Park, which are fully interactive, simulated towns run by students, which they visit for an entire day or more. Older students engage in JA Job Shadow, where young people work with professionals in each student’s chosen field, and our students don’t just listen and observe: they often sit in on high-level meetings, help make creative decisions, and offer their mentors a new perspective. Through JA It’s My Business, students create a detailed business plan, participate in a pitch session, and embrace entrepreneurial thinking; many continue on to the JA Company Program—during which students create a real company with real products and real profits—and then compete for Company of the Year awards. What connects every one of these JA experiences is the volunteer, a business-savvy mentor from the students’ own community who complements the role of the teacher.
The second way we teach self-efficacy is by giving young people the opportunity to learn from role models and others who have achieved success. Seeing mentors, classmates, and family members build businesses, tackle innovation challenges, and master new skills—in spite of frustrations and setbacks—reinforces the belief in one’s own ability to change his or her personal circumstances and achieve goals. Self-efficacy is contagious. When our programs are introduced to a small subset of students, we’ve seen it spread through the school when their friends learn about JA’s impact. When we reach a critical mass of students, we’ve seen it spread through communities and regions when ministers of education and other political leaders ask us to expand our programming. There is nothing quite as powerful as seeing a young person develop self belief.
Every day, our 100-million-plus alumni put their plans into action, demonstrate that slow and steady work toward a goal leads to success, and model this behavior among their own families, colleagues, and communities. They cannot help but change the world.
Francesco Vanni d’Archirafi
Chair, Board of Governors, JA Worldwide;
CEO, Citi Holdings
President and CEO, JA Worldwide
As we build toward our 100th anniversary celebration, 2017 was one of our most successful years in history. In addition to connecting and supporting our six regional operating centers and 100+ member countries that serve over 10 million students, we expanded our partnerships, led global conversations around youth employability, and began defining and communicating our impact. Above are a few highlights of our exciting year; below, a longer video summary.
JA funders support the development of work-readiness, financial-literacy, and entrepreneurship programs and support strategic initiatives at the JA Worldwide headquarters, at regional operating centers, and in JA member countries. At the local level, JA staff engage, train, and support educators and volunteers, resulting in over 150 million student-contact hours and 10 million-plus student experiences.
We subscribe to the highest standards of integrity, ethics, and accountability, and that is a constant across our network. Each local JA entity operates independently, with its own fiduciary board, yet is part of a global family of members linked by a common mission, member agreement, and code of conduct. We leverage the power and know-how of our global staff so that innovation in one location is readily available to another.
Financial statements below do not include the finances of member countries and represent only a fraction of the size and strength of the global network. In aggregate, the JA Global Network generates revenue over $307 million, which fuels innovations and builds JA capacity through unrestricted support of operations, programmatic support, and in-kind donations. Member countries benefit from pass-through funds raised by JA Worldwide, which totaled $13 million in 2017. For country-by-country data, see our 2017 Factbook.
JA’s global impact is the result of supportive partnerships with businesses and individuals around the world. These collaborations encourage innovation and long-term commitment. Our partners provide funding for educational programs, join regional and local boards, and volunteer directly with students.
All our diverse partnerships and sponsorships enhance and grow existing programs, enable the development and launch of new JA locations, and provide backing for innovation. The effects of each contribution—through funding, collaborations, and volunteering—flow through the entire organization and empower us to further our mission effectively.
Year after year, these partnerships make a lasting impact, enabling JA to transform the worlds of millions of young people every year, who, in turn, transform the world. Click on each logo below to see how nine of our funders, which represent only a sample of the collaborative partnerships that extend JA’s global reach into more than 100 countries, made an impact in 2017.
Find out more about our unique collaborations by clicking on the logos below.