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Junior Achievement of NW Ohio Receives Ohio Department of Commerce Grant

August 16th, 2021

Ohio Department of Commerce Awards Junior Achievement of Northwestern Ohio Financial Literacy Education Grant 

TOLEDO, OH -- “We are so encouraged that the Ohio Department of Commerce – our state’s agency most focused on promoting prosperity and protecting Ohioans – believes in the potential of Junior Achievement to make a positive impact in the financial futures of Ohio’s youth,” said Jim Pollock about the grant announcement.

 Pollock is the President of Junior Achievement of Northwestern Ohio, one of two Junior Achievement area organizations to be selected for the Department’s Financial Literacy Education Grant. Junior Achievement of Mahoning Valley will also have programming support this year; the grant, totaling $75,930, will be divided among these two Junior Achievement regions alongside DoverPhila Federal Credit Union and Denison University.

 In Junior Achievement of Northwestern Ohio’s twelve county Ohio footprint, the grant funds will be used to present innovative learning experiences high in financial literacy content for over 30 classrooms. The organization’s curriculum touches on financial literacy as early as kindergarten, with progressively more comprehensive lessons through senior year.

 “One of the experiences we’re offering to high schools this fall thanks to state support will be JA Personal Finance, available to freshmen through seniors – it really provides teens a wealth of understanding toward the link between today’s decisions and future financial freedom,” explained Erica Fischbach, JA’s Manager of Learning Experiences. Those participating in the program learn about money-management strategies around employment and income, budgeting, savings, credit and debt, consumer protection, smart shopping, risk management, investing, and net worth.

Lindsay Williams, Director of Marketing & Partner Engagement explained, “Junior Achievement programs high in financial literacy are regularly evaluated for impact by our national organization in concert with 3rd party researchers. Their findings support our confidence in these programs to raise the financial understanding in the students who experience them.” From those studies:

90% of JA Alumni reported feeling confident in their ability to manage money.

Students in 7-12 grade surveyed before and after JA financial literacy lessons were asked to share their attitudes on statements such as, “It’s important to pay attention to how much money I spend,” and, “It’s important to plan for big purchases in the future.” The post evaluation revealed that for every 7 students who initially didn’t think it was important to manage their money, 6 students changed their minds in a favorable direction.

In a time when many students find themselves overborrowing for education, JA lessons improved Alumni decision making in this area: According to the Institute for College Access & Success, 69% of graduating college seniors have student loans. Comparatively, only 55% of JA Alumni who went to college took out student loans. U.S. News reports that it takes an average of 21 years for graduates with four-year degrees to pay off these loans. 47% of JA Alumni paid off their student loans in half that time – or less; most were fully paid by the five year mark.

Junior Achievement of Northwestern Ohio plans for maximum impact with goals centered on more contact hours per student. “We believe this effort – returning to each student, semester after semester, with meaningful experiences and dedicated mentors – is critical to student success,” shared Pollock. PBS recently found that most money habits are set for children as early as age seven, and they found that the best way to teach children better habits was through hands-on teaching. JA’s experiential learning allows students to develop the smart financial habits they need to lay a foundation for future success.

Between the four organizations supported by the grant, 20 Ohio counties will be served. The Ohio Department of Commerce sees great value in this reach, noting enthusiasm for the support rural counties will receive. “Improving access to financial literacy opportunities in our rural counties helps more students continue to become ready for college, their career, and more importantly their life,” said Commerce Director Sheryl Maxfield.

 To learn more about incorporating JA Financial Literacy programs in your school or organization, visit or contact today. Junior Achievement of Northwestern Ohio is a non-profit educational service provider serving Defiance, Erie, Fulton, Hancock, Henry, Huron, Lucas, Ottawa, Sandusky, Seneca, Wood, and Williams counties in Ohio.

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