NEO students have fun learning about career paths

Field Day was always one of the highlights of the school year when I was a kid. It was near the end of the school year, so we all knew that summer was right around the corner. So that was obviously exciting. And here was a day where we got to wear shorts to school, spend the whole day outside running, playing and having fun. Plus, we got to eat outside and it was just pretty much the best day ever.

So I couldn’t help but think about that experience as I put together my story on JA Field Day, a program put on by Junior Achievement of Greater Cleveland and sponsored by KeyBank. Of course, JA Field Day is much different. But the sense I get is while it is focused more on things like curriculum, career paths and developing resumes, the kids involved in the program might have just as much fun taking part in this experience.

“JA is all about experiential learning, recognizing that our programming enhances and reinforces curriculum that these kids are learning in their everyday class lives,” says Joe Faulhaber, president of Junior Achievement of Greater Cleveland. “We come in and really bring our corporate partners together to support this effort. Through game-based and activity-based learning, we’re able to reinforce the concepts that these kids are introduced to in school.”

As you’ll read in this month’s Building Stronger Communities feature, this year’s event was held on April 26. More than 450 student participants came together for a day of hands-on, experiential learning activities focused on JA’s core mission pillars of career readiness, financial literacy and entrepreneurship. The day was created as a capstone experience to take everything that the students learn throughout the course of the year and give it more relevance by demonstrating how it could apply to a career path.”

“What we’re trying to do is get these kids ready for life after school, whatever path they may choose,” Faulhaber says. “We felt we could participate in that by building the bridge between board room and classroom. We’re privileged to have tremendous relationships with the corporate community locally.”

This was the fourth year for JA Field Day and the first time the event welcomed students from all four participating counties, which includes Lake, Geauga, Cuyahoga and Lorain counties. My younger self would have found it hard to believe, but you really can learn about adulting and still have fun.

Mark Scott is Senior Associate Editor at Smart Business Cleveland