Hundreds of Middle Schoolers Visit TCC Northwest

Three hundred and sixty-two Badgers from Ed Willkie Middle School explored career options and learned new work skills as part of Reverse Junior Achievement in a Day on Nov. 2 at TCC Northwest Campus.

Through the program, students arrive on campus in the morning and are split into three groups, rotating through a college-style schedule and moving between rooms for each activity.

The curriculum included career development information, soft skills and personal branding. Students also explored potential careers, discovered the four factors to consider in choosing a career and learned basic job search tools. The students not only received the Junior Achievement curriculum, but toured the campus and participate in a hands-on simulation in the Fire Service Training Center’s Emergency Operations Center.

“I am so overwhelmed at the Northwest Campus faculty and staff spirit of volunteerism,” said Julie Russell, professor of economics and Junior Achievement in a Day volunteer coordinator. “JA in a Day is volunteer intensive, requiring approximately 50 volunteer facilitators and logistics managers.”

The program was piloted in 2015 at TCC Northwest and the first of its kind for Junior Achievement’s It’s My Future program.

It’s My Future is typically conducted over several weeks with community volunteers bringing the curriculum to middle schools. The Reverse JA in a Day program is designed to allow middle-schoolers to come to the College to receive all the curriculum in one day, as well as a campus tour.

The Texas Legislature requires eighth graders to pick a career endorsement as part of their planning for high school and college. The It’s My Future program helps students do this by exposing them to a variety of careers, providing them practical information about the world of work and exposing them to exciting possibilities at TCC. With the information provided to them during Junior Achievement in a Day, organizers hope students can make a more informed decision about their career endorsements.

“The JA in a Day at TCC Northwest represents the great partnership that exists between TCC and the Eagle Mountain-Saginaw ISD,” said Jim Chadwell, superintendent of Eagle Mountain-Saginaw ISD. “Our Willkie Middle School eighth graders have the wonderful opportunity to learn more about financial literacy from the TCC staff on the campus.  This experience is inspirational for our students in thinking forward towards their academic futures.  We are thankful for the leadership of TCC and its professors in making this possible.”

These sentiments were echoed by Lisa Benedetti, dean of humanities at TCC Northwest. “The collaboration among Junior Achievement, Eagle-Mountain Saginaw ISD and TCC enables our volunteers to teach students life skills that relate to financial literacy, entrepreneurship and work-readiness on a college campus,” she said. “We stress the importance about the options available from certificates to degrees. It is so exciting to be engaged in this day and to know that you are making a difference in the lives of these children.”