Junior Achievement Career Day | PostIndependent.com

Junior Achievement Career Day

Local teens got a dose of the real world last Thursday at the Glenwood Springs Community Center from High School seniors ready to graduate and area business professionals who know what it takes to be successful in school and in business.

“Our goal is for young people to get information about different careers,” said Robin Tolan, director of Junior Achievement.

The Junior Achievement sixth annual career day is an event geared towards eighth-grade middle-school students who are preparing to enter high school.

This year, the girls went to Aspen and 190 eighth-grade boys from four area schools met with 30 volunteer local professionals in Glenwood who were on hand to teach them about free enterprise and the economics of life.

Classroom preparation for the event began when Tolan visited area schools and led students in assessment activities that helped them evaluate where their interests and skills lie.

On career day, some junior and senior high school students who have excelled in both academics and sports were there to answer questions and dispel some of the myths about high school.

Students then went to different occupation stations throughout the morning to learn about different careers, job applications, interviews, and budgets, taught by leaders in the community.

Managing expenses proved to be the most tricky as some students found out quickly how much money they need to earn to pay monthly expenses such as cell phone bills and rent.

And before they could call on Visa and MasterCard to bail them out, Debbie Wilde explained to her group how credit cards work ” and do not work.

Current national statistics show that one in three students will drop out of school.

“Eighth grade is a turning point,” Tolan said.

She said at that age kids need to feel a connection, know the value of an education, and have some direction going into high school.

For Tolan, this makes JA’s outreach to 7 million students in 120 countries of local, national, and global importance.

She also realizes that not every student will choose to go to college, and her advice to those students is to learn a vocation.

“You can be a mechanic and make $80 an hour,” she said.

JA Board President Clayton Collier said, “You just have to be consistent, and if you work hard enough good things will happen,” he said.

Well, maybe.

Kyle Watts was stunned after he calculated his monthly budget.

“Despite being a male model, I am still $540 in debt!” he said.

This is the eye-opening object lessons organizers hoped for, along with one other important fact.

“Real life is looming around the corner, like it or not,” Collier said.

For more information about Junior Achievement, call Robin Tolan at 379-1365.

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