About Us

Junior Achievement of Western Massachusetts impacts thousands of young people each year, opening their minds to their potential and preparing them for life after graduation.

As a member of JA USA, JA of Western Massachusetts is a part of the world’s largest organization dedicated to educating students about workforce readiness, entrepreneurship and financial literacy through experiential, hands-on programs.

Historical photo of JA mechanical club working on CAN-TEEN project

Junior Achievement programs are offered at no cost to the schools and community groups throughout Western Massachusetts and Vermont. All JA programs correlate to U.S. National Standards, Common Core Standards, and MA and VT Academic Content Standards.

Our age‐appropriate, academically challenging programs are offered to local schools and community groups free of charge because of the financial support we receive from hundreds of local businesses, individuals, and foundations, in addition to our special events.

Historical photo of students walking out of school

Our History

Junior Achievement was founded in Springfield, Massachusetts in 1919 by Theodore Vail, president of American Telephone & Telegraph; Horace Moses, president of Strathmore Paper Co.; and Senator Murray Crane of Massachusetts. Junior Achievement has since grown to become the nation’s largest organization dedicated to giving young people the knowledge and skills they need to own their economic success, plan for their future, and make smart academic and economic choices.

JA’s programs—in the core content areas of work readiness, entrepreneurship and financial literacy—ignite the spark in young people to experience and realize the opportunities and realities of work and life in the 21st century.

Our Purpose and Core Values

Junior Achievement inspires and prepares young people to succeed in a global economy. We maintain an active vision for how we can have a positive impact on the lives of more students, guided by our core values:

  • Belief in the boundless potential of young people
  • Commitment to the principles of market-based economics and entrepreneurship
  • Passion for what we do and honesty, integrity, and excellence in how we do it
  • Respect for the talents, creativity, perspectives, and backgrounds of all individuals
  • Belief in the power of partnership and collaboration
  • Conviction in the educational and motivational impact of relevant, hands-on learning

Our Approach

JA’s unique approach allows volunteers from the community to deliver our curriculum while sharing their experiences with students. Embodying the heart of JA, our more than 400 classroom volunteers transform the key concepts of our lessons into a message that inspires and empowers students to believe in themselves, showing them they can make a difference in the world.

Our Impact

Junior Achievement has a beneficial impact on students’ attitudes and knowledge base, which they take with them into the adult world of work and personal responsibility. When asked if being a JA student positively affected their future, 92 percent of JA alumni responded with a resounding “Yes!” Learn more in our annual report.

Our Supporters

Our goal as an organization is to better serve the community, and support it with an educated future workforce. In return, we require the support of the community so we can continue as an organization. This includes finding volunteers from the community who are willing to go into the classrooms. It also means finding business professionals who are willing to serve as board members and support the administrative side of Junior Achievement.

Thank you to all our generous supporters including:

The Horace Moses Leadership Society

Gifts $20,000 and Greater

  • Anonymous
  • Irene E. & George A. Davis Foundation
  • MassMutual Financial Group
  • Peoples United Bank Charitable Foundation

The Chairman Level

Gifts from $10,000–$19,999

  • Horace A. Moses Trust/The Boston Foundation
  • Key Trust, Horace Moses
  • Santander, NA
  • Savage Arms
  • St. Germain Investment Management
  • United Bank Foundation

The Director Level

Gifts from $5,000–$9,999

  • American Outdoor Brands (Smith & Wesson)
  • Balise Motor Sales Company
  • Chicopee Savings Bank Foundation
  • Comcast
  • Elms College
  • Guardian Life Insurance Company of America
  • Joseph & Anna Dias Jr. Family Foundation
  • UMASS Springfield Center
  • UPS Foundation
  • Webster Bank
  • Wells Fargo Bank, N.A.

Community Partners

  • Cambridge Credit Counseling Corporation
  • Chicopee Credit for Life Committee
  • FitZone Athletic Performance
  • Greater Chicopee Chamber of Commerce
  • New England Farm Workers Youth Program
  • Regional Employment Board of Hampden County Youth Council
  • Springfield Regional Chamber of Commerce
  • Stay in School Committee
  • UMass Springfield
  • United Way of Pioneer Valley
  • Westover Job Corps
Seal of Transparency 2018 Platinum Award
JA USA 5 Star Award

Programs and Locations

Our programs show students how to generate wealth and effectively manage it, create jobs to make their communities more robust, and apply entrepreneurial thinking to the workplace.

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