A program to improve student achievement in the upper Midwest is gearing up to host a summer camp.

Since 1949, Junior Achievement of the Upper Midwest has been serving students in the area by offering education in financial literacy, college and career readiness and entrepreneurship education.

“Our programs help prepare young people for the real world by showing them how to generate wealth and effectively manage it, how to create jobs which make their communities more robust, and how to apply entrepreneurial thinking to the workplace. Students put these lessons into action, and learn the value of contributing to their communities,” according to Junior Achievement’s website.

In the classrooms the sessions involve mentoring from community volunteers, who deliver five to seven lessons a week. They do this through the use of program kits that provide lesson plans. Emphasized are basic economic concepts, business operations, personal financial management, workforce and college readiness skills, and entrepreneurial thinking, according to the Chamber’s newsletter.

In Waseca, the program is relatively new, but there is a goal in place to expand it in the community.

“We have completed our first year of bringing it to Waseca classrooms,” said Waseca Area Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Kim Foels. “The chamber and ambassadors both donated money last year to launch the program in our schools’ third grade classes with the future goal to have it implemented to more grades.”

With that goal in mind, the offer of a Junior Achievement camp for high school students provides a glimpse of what future applications of the program could hold for Waseca students.

This summer, Junior Achievement is introducing a program called Start It Up! It is a residential camp that takes place from June 21-26 at Minnesota State University, Mankato.

According to a press release, students will participate in activities such as networking with CEOs and entrepreneurs, interactive workshops, a video diary, social events like a reception and dinner, and a personal entrepreneurial assessment. They will also receive tips on how to start their own business and will go behind the scenes with entrepreneurs.

“We are delighted to offer young high school entrepreneurs the opportunity to develop and build their skills in a fun and innovative learning environment,” said JAUM President and CEO Gina Blayney, in a press release.

Reporter Jacob Stark can be reached at 837-5451 or follow him on Twitter @WCNjacob.

Covering Waseca, Janesville, and New Richland.

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