Many students graduate from high school, and even college, without knowing “life skills” like doing taxes or job searching. The Junior Achievement program aims to help students connect the dots between what they learn in school and the “business of life”— work readiness, entrepreneurship, and financial literacy.
Recently, StaffBuffalo Team Members Anne and Lisa volunteered at a JA Inspire event, which brings together the business community and local schools and is designed to help launch middle school students into their futures: high school, college, and careers beyond. Hundreds of middle school students from around Western New York came to the Buffalo Niagara Convention Center to explore a variety of Career Stations, hear from a panel of business professionals and a keynote speaker, as well as participate in a workshop led by volunteers.
Anne and Lisa led one of the workshops in the morning for over 60 students from two local schools. They role-played a “bad” interview and discussed the differences between “hard” or technical skills and soft skills. Then, the students worked together to analyze a fictional job situation, identifying the soft skill that was lacking and acting out a possible resolution. At the end, the students talked about which soft skills they found the most difficult, like working in a team, having a good work ethic, and keeping a positive attitude.
Though middle school students are not yet old enough to get their first jobs, building key skills and relationships early will only help them in the future! Lisa and Anne should know: they met in middle school and continued to keep in touch while attending different universities. Now, they are coworkers! Lisa and Anne wish they’d had something like Junior Achievement when they were in middle school, and were excited to see and participate in the opportunities it offers to current students.