South Florida Business & Wealth April 2018: Education to Employment
How Junior Achievement of South Florida Empowers the Future’s Workforce
By Andrea Richard
Published April 28, 2018
Eight years ago, student Stefano Selorio began his professional journey, thanks to Junior Achievement of South Florida. It started when he was in the fifth grade and participated in JA BizTown program, which teaches youths how to run companies through hands-on role playing and handle their personal finances. BizTown resembles an indoor business hub with real companies, including BB&T, Lifestyle Media Group and Hoffman’s Chocolates.
“We owned little storefronts, and I was the CEO of Sports World,” Selorio says. “I was in charge of making paychecks, depositing them and hiring people.”
In the eighth grade, he participated in JA’s Finance Park program. He took on the character of a single father with three children, and he learned how to manage a household budget. JA has a partnership with Broward County Public Schools that requires fifth and eighth graders to attend these programs.
In 11th and 12th grades, he did the JA Fellows program twice and learned how to create, build and develop a small company along with a team of roughly 15 to 20 students. The 8-month program is led by business mentors and culminates with a “Spark Tank,” where students present business pitches to investors. “We had advisers from JA, entrepreneurs and CEOs who came out and helped us with how to take products to market,” he says.
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