A new survey of 1,002 Junior Achievement alumni conducted by Ipsos on behalf of Junior Achievement USA – an organization that aims to develop work-place readiness, entrepreneurship and financial literacy skills in students through volunteer-led talks, exercises, and programs – finds that the Junior Achievement (JA) program had a strong impact on JA alumni’s professional and personal development into adulthood and the working-world.
Junior Achievement Alumni Business Owners
Half of JA alumni have started or owned a business in at least one point in time in their lives (53%) according to survey results. One-third report they owned or started one business (35%) and 18% say they owned or started multiple businesses. About three-quarters of JA alumni business owners say their businesses are still operating today (72%). This is far higher than the nationwide average – according to the U.S. Census, just 6%
of Americans are self-employed. Those who are both JA alumni business owners and who report that they worked in the same field as their JA volunteer are more likely to say their business is still operation (82%) than the other JA entrepreneurs. Over half report having small to mid-size businesses that had 50 or fewer employees (63%), while 38% said they owned larger businesses with 51 employees or more.
• Men and women JA alumni are equally likely to say they have started or partnered in multiple
businesses. This makes women who are JA alumni slightly more likely than the national population
to own a business. In 2017, 39% of all U.S. firms were owned by women.
• Younger JA alumni are more likely to say they have started multiple businesses (23%) than those
ages 35-54 (15%) and those ages 55+ (13%).
• JA alumni from the South are more likely to say they have started one business (41%) compared to
one-third of those in the Northeast (30%), Midwest (31%) and West (31%).
Impact on Future Decisions
About 4 in 5 JA alumni report that the JA program played a somewhat important or very important role in their decision to pursue further education (79%), their professional development (79%), and their personal development (78%). Fifty-one percent (51%) of JA alumni have college degrees, much higher
than that nationwide average of 33%. Eighty-five percent (85%) of JA alumni say the JA program played an important role in fostering the belief that they could achieve their goals, and 83% say it also played an important role in boosting their confidence in new situations. Three-quarters say it played an important role in their career path (75%). Those who ended up in working in the same field as their JA volunteer are even more likely to say that the JA program played an important role in their career path (88%), their confidence (90%), the belief they could achieve their goals (92%), their professional development (88%), their personal development (87%) and their decision to pursue further education (88%).
• Women and men JA alumni are equally likely to say the JA program played an important role in their decision to pursue further education, personal development, helping them believe they could achieve their goals, and giving them confidence in new situations. While strong majorities of both men and women report that the program played an important role in their professional development (82% and 74% respectively) and their career path (78% and 69% respectively), men were more likely to say the program was important in shaping those aspects of their lives.