The Regional Business Accelerator (RBA) is looking for experienced businesspeople to run workshops as volunteers for Lloydminster’s Junior Achievement program.
Junior Achievement is the world’s largest non-profit organization dedicated to educating youth on business and related topics. The program is an outside entity that conducts workshops in schools, usually for half a day.
“Business, entrepreneurship, financial literacy, work readiness - things that aren’t always in the school curriculum and maybe the kids aren’t always getting at home. We go into the classrooms and deliver some lessons to them,” said A.J. Mokelky, liaison for the RBA and co-ordinator of the local Junior Achievement program.
This year marks the first that Junior Achievement has an established base in Lloydminster. Previously, program offices in Edmonton and Saskatoon occasionally arranged one-off sessions for local volunteers to facilitate workshops.
“This is the first year that it’s been co-ordinated out of Lloydminster,” said Mokelky, who added that local schools have now held Junior Achievement workshops in each month since February. “This year we’re going to be in over 40 classrooms and we’ve already been in 30-something.”
Locally, the program remains in its youth stages. The accelerator is working on a fixed schedule for next year and wants to reach more grades on a regular basis. Junior Achievement is currently most prominent in grades 7 to 9 in the public school division and Grade 9 in the catholic school division. Mokelky says that ideally, the program will start entering classrooms in grade four and maintain a consistent presence through Grade 12.
“Some of the programs with the younger kids will be on what is a business? What does it mean to be self-employed? What is profit? How do businesses work?” he said. “As you move up, it’s more into, when they’re in Grade 7, how can we find summer jobs? What’s a resumÃ©? What’s an interview look like?”
He added that currently, the Grade 8 program focuses on financial literacy and teaches students about how credit and debit cards work, where money comes from when writing a cheque and how to protect financial information from identity theft, especially online. The Grade 9 program looks at career planning and work readiness and includes discussions on planning education, student loans and RESPs.
Mokelky says the RBA offers volunteers social media publicity plus cross-promotion opportunities, but the jobs are ultimately about giving back.
“It’s going to be supported by Lloydminster, that’s the only way it’s going to work,” he said. “We need businesses to step up and share our opinions that this is important stuff we’re doing and important knowledge we’re passing on, and we need them to work with us.”
Junior Achievement prepares the class lessons for workshop leaders and the teaching schedule is flexible. Those interested in volunteering are encouraged to contact the RBA at 780-875-3627.