Happy November. I hope you all had an opportunity last week to gather with your families and friends to enjoy the Thanksgiving holiday.
You know, as we navigate the dynamic landscape of Maine’s economy and, in particular, its technology-based economy, it’s crucial to acknowledge our role in helping to shape our future innovators and entrepreneurs. Recently, I had the privilege of attending the 2023 Junior Achievement (JA) Maine Business Hall of Fame, an event that left a lasting impression on me.
As Michelle Anderson, President and CEO of Junior Achievement of Maine, aptly put it, “Entrepreneurial education is a strong foundation that helps students gain knowledge and skills in design thinking, problem-solving, creativity, and innovation. JA’s volunteer-led experiences bridge the gap between education and the real world, guiding students as they plan their path to new opportunities.”
The potential influence on our future workforce is profound. A 2021/22 IPSOS study revealed that among JA Alumni: 56% work or have worked in the same field as their JA volunteer; 51% have started or owned a business; 88% acknowledge that JA made them consider new work opportunities or career paths.
The impact of this initiative on Maine’s business landscape is immeasurable. It reinforces our responsibility to invest in the next generation of science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics (STEAM) innovators, equipping them with the skills necessary for success.
The Maine Technology Institute has always championed innovation, and our involvement with Junior Achievement aligns seamlessly with this ethos. By placing value on the development of Maine’s young talent, we contribute not only to their individual growth but also to the continued prosperity of Maine’s economy through entrepreneurship.
If you are contemplating ways to have a more meaningful impact in our communities and on our economy, please consider volunteering with Junior Achievement of Maine. Your time and expertise can make a significant difference in shaping the future of our state. Please visit their website to learn more about their mission and discover how you can get involved.
My thanks to JA Maine’s President & CEO, Michelle Anderson, and her Board and team, for all they do to promote entrepreneurial education and prepare the next generation of innovators.