JA Our Nation

JA Our Nation™ provides practical information about the need for people who can meet the demands of the 21st century job market. Students will learn that businesses are actively seeking workers with skills in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM). They''ll understand that people who have these STEM skills benefit from a growing number of opportunities in what are called high-growth, high-demand careers.

JA Our Nation™ introduces the concept of globalization of business and how that may affect the careers students choose to pursue. The program also stresses the need for students to be entrepreneurial in their thinking.

JA Our Nation™ is a series of five required sessions and one optional supplemental session recommended for students in fifth grade. The average time it takes to present each session is 45 minutes. Materials are packaged in a self-contained kit that includes detailed session plans for the volunteer and materials for 32 students.

JA Our Nation™ enhances students’ learning of the following concepts and skills:

  • Concepts – Advertising, Capital resources, Career preparation, Communication, Competition, Corporation, Demand, Employees, Employers, Engineering, Entrepreneur, Free enterprise, Global competition, Goods, High-growth, high-demand jobs, Human resources, Natural resources, Opportunity costs, Partnerships, Price, Products, Profit,  Resources, Resume, Scarcity, Services, Skills, Sole proprietorship, Specialization, Stock, Stockholders, Supply, Technology, Technophile, Technophobe
  • Skills – Addition and subtraction, Brainstorming, Conceptualizing and designing advertisements, Creative thinking, Critical thinking, Decision-making, Drawing conclusions, Estimating, Evaluation, Following directions, Graphing and graph interpretation, Listening, Map reading, Problem-solving, Reading and writing, Reasoning, Role-playing, Teamwork, Verbal communication, Working in groups

Program Components

The key learning objectives listed beside each session state the skills and knowledge students will gain.

Session One: What’s Your Big Idea?

Students practice being entrepreneurs by turning ideas into businesses. They identify factors needed to create a variety of entrepreneurial ventures and design an advertisement for their product.

Session Objectives:

  • Experience free enterprise and entrepreneurship
  • Identify the key factors in establishing an entrepreneurial business
  • Create an advertisement

Supplemental Session: Business Organization

Students further explore entrepreneurship by experiencing the three ways a business can be organized.

Session Objectives:

  • Identify the three types of business organizations

Session Two: What’s a Resource?

Students learn about resources and how they apply to technology, workers, and the needs of businesses and industries.

Session Objectives:

  • Describe resources, particularly human and capital resources
  • Define scarcity and opportunity cost
  • Discuss technology as a capital resource in demand by most businesses

Session Three: Job to Job

Students examine the skills needed by jobs that are in demand by businesses in a free enterprise system, particularly the skills related to high-growth, high-demand jobs.

Session Objectives:

  • Identify the skills that support high-growth, high-demand needs in the workplace
  • Analyze their own skills to see how they fit in the workplace

Session Four: A Cluster of Skills

Students learn about job clusters and the background necessary for each job. They are introduced to a simple resume that uses typical resume components.

Session Objectives:

  • Identify clusters of jobs and the background required by those jobs
  • Create a simple resume

Session Five: Worldwide Connections

Students are introduced to specialization and competition. They explore how their nation is connected to the global economy. They see how specialization and technology have contributed to free enterprise and their effect on the global business world.

Session Objectives:

  • Describe specialization and competition in business
  • Experience the global needs of many businesses

All JA programs are designed to support the skills and competencies identified by the Partnership for 21st Century Skills. These programs also augment school-based, work-based, and connecting activities for communities with school-to-work initiatives.

For additional information on this and all Junior Achievement programs, please visit