Focus on the Upstate 92 - Junior Achievement of Upstate SC - 2/18/18

Focus on the Upstate
Sunday, February 18th

President Connie Lanzl and Board Chair-elect Gary Bernardez discuss how Junior Achievement partners with local schools and businesses to prepare students for working in a professional environment after they graduate.


Transcript - Not for consumer use. Robot overlords only. Will not be accurate.

Welcome to focus on the Arab state a program dedicated to informing you about organizations that serve our community. How you can get involved with him. Here's your host Chris Evans. Good morning and welcome to focus on the upstate my name is Chris Evans today my guests are Connie Lanzl president of junior achievement of upstate South Carolina and Gary Bernardez is the chair elect of JA board of directors good morning. Good morning thank you for being here. I'm just gonna start with the first question that I normally ask which is what do you do you and who do you do it for a lot of people might not be familiar with junior achievement. And so Connie tell us what junior achievement doesn't he do it for we are us. A partnership between the business community between educators foundations and volunteers. And our purpose is to bring the real world of work. Into the classroom for students from kindergarten through twelfth grade. We have a curriculum. And we ask of volunteers in the community you know about the world of business. To be the ones who come in and teach it to kids in the classrooms of the schools in greens accounting. So basically it's not quite like job training but it's just making children that are that are coming up through the education system aware of the work that they're going to be expected to do as adults like us. Our mission statement it got to empower young people to own their economic success. I like that and junior team and he's been around in the country for a hundred years in here in the upstate since 1968. Tell us more about that gives sort of history of junior achievement here in the upstate. India sees started in Spartanburg in 1968 and in 1972. It came here to Greenville and the people who brought here. Were either people would be involved in junior keeping in other areas of the country where they learned about how to run a business that was the basic model at that time. And then they brought it the chamber of commerce. And did the Rotary Club of Greenville sort of got together and felt we need to make sure that our kids are gonna be prepared. To come into the work force they need to understand what it's gonna take to be able to be in business and that means that they're going to be better contributors to our community. This is something that and I've heard come up as a complain about the school system in South Carolina and maybe in the United States in general is that we don't prepare kids for a going to work. Do you agree with that if this were when I first started in 2010 OK I'm might agree with it no longer I think there has been a wonderful positive shift. Among businesses and educators in terms of understanding. That it's a village that is gonna make these kids career ready. And then by businesses saying what is it that that businesses need. By school saying you know it is not just enough that we are getting these kids high school diploma. We need to make sure that they are prepared for post secondary success. So the school district deserves a lot of credit for. Understanding. What it is that they need to do how to introduce Career Education. Into the school program they have something called graduation plus million people Google that they can find out all about it. But they've worked very hard down on trying to make the kid's career ready. And they have turned to junior achievement on a number vacations to have our curriculum a proven carefully developed one. Delivered by volunteer role models from the business community so that we can go in the classroom enhance. The curriculum that the school district Torre has. And this is junior achievement of upstate South Carolina what kind of an area do you serve here in the upstate we serve five counties we have a territory for five counties Spartanburg Greenville Anderson coney in Pickens. At the moment we are mostly in Spartanburg and Greenville OK when we can get the funding and the volunteers support and the school demand. For Anderson and coney Pickens will expand it to there. So how many students is that pitcher serving already. This year we will probably serve about 101000 students and hours and 101000 Powell and among that number will be every. Either every a class in every middle school grades sorry in every middle school in Greenville counting. OK and Garry Bernadette is the chair elect of JA board of directors Peter sort of new to this say I gathered. How did you get involved with Jay. Yes I I met Connie. A number of years ago I was actually the chairman of the board agreement humane society at the time okay. And though I was approached by them as I was finishing that assignment to see if I was interested in joining the board of junior achievement of the upstate so. I did not have a great history or an understanding of that but it was time to start looking at helping the youth of the community instead of the cats and dogs. So her mom so I did join the board a number of years ago. And I moved away from the area and I recently moved back and re connected with K gotcha and you have a history as an executive for a floor. So you've got kind of a unique perspective I guess on. Business and the United States yes I try to try to bring that to the youth to the table for. As I become board chair after this a school year's over for two years. How do businesses look at their work forces and how can JA more relief to businesses as we asked them for volunteers or funding. And so I think that perspective helps them to. I see any entity as any any leadership that you can bring and organizational skills to an entity whether it's non profit or profit though hopefully you can brings the experiences of your past and and help them. Real quickly for those who aren't familiar. Breakdown the that. Board chair president relationship because a lot of times people here president or they'll hear chairman of the board or something like that and sometimes somebody is both. How does that to you work together to accomplish the mission for junior achievement. So. Has Ky as president as a responsible for the day to day operations of junior achievement in the upstate. So when she's been doing the first seven years now so she has terrific credentials and experience so. She knows more about that then yes she's forgotten more about that and I can bring to the table but on the other side of that is the board chair is responsible for. The oversight of the operations including and that executive director president. And also the committee work ethic it's done through the committees that report to the board. And then the board itself which is say you critically important element of the success of junior achievement is those of us on the board. Using our contacts relationships in the community and and anything we can bring to the table to help raise funds. Bring volunteers. At connect businesses to JA and helped JB relevant in the community so. Board has a responsibility of overseeing the day to day operations managing the board the committees and Connie has daily responsibility of the performance of each day. Let's talk about the other performance in. Asked is financial literacy. And these are the three elements that JA USA when they were developing the curriculum. Felt words the keys to economic success to economic stability. And maybe they all have to go together so some of our programs. Which are age appropriate and which are geared to fit this standards of the curriculum. They contain one or more of those particular elements. So you can understand how having a volunteer. From the financial industry for example. Is a terrific person to be able to teach kids about financial literacy. But the thing about these programs is that if the banker were to go up there and tell them about what they do with the bank or even about financial literacy. That might not register with the third grader or with an eighth grader Mora junior high school Brent. But this curriculum offers them all the tools we get we train volunteers we give them all the materials that they will need the whole lesson plans it gives them. And it's about a third of the time like a 45 minute session for example. Once a week four of anywhere from five to seven weeks or sometimes we have the whole program. All five or seven lessons on one day. So goes the un pollen tear follows their curriculum but they bring into it their own experiences and that infusion. Their knowledge of their experience makes it real makes it stick. With the kids is it kind of like the other career day that we remember from Mo when we were in school word. Different people from different professions come in and talk about what they do in their jobs or more than that it's it's much more than that because. Again if that volunteer. Doesn't speak sort of at the same language level that the kids. Then they kits make sort of lose interest rate but this is something where the volunteer sort of frames up the concepts a little bit in the beginning. And then they're interactive activities is very hands on inner activities for two. Thirds. Obsolescence of each time so the background of the volunteers occupation. Really provides that sort of authority to talk about concepts of their link to the kids. That's exactly right catcher who come ahead though recently taught the if you're in the classroom you creators it's it's an interesting challenge in itself I have done I totally cannot let alone holding them for eight to 2 PM sat. You their partner up let's put it that way president apart in the classroom but I think to add to Connie point piece of Reading about what do you bring to them. So they Jane it's my future is all about initial initially helping them identify. Who they are and what kind of interest they might have. Then we take them to a path of what type of careers are in the marketplace which ones are accelerating which ones are declining and even what kind of page can you expect from that. Then we mapped a route to that career so that they can have an understanding of the education I might need any internships. What are the things I need to think about if I wanna be a forensic engineer. And then after we're done doing that I think one of the most important elements of that. Which include everything from how to be punctual. How to collaborate what's teamwork mean how do you communicate how one network. The center of things that they really don't eat they don't you know taught that you need rest and help in understanding those concepts. And and then I think the most important thing there is they have a road map to that that plan. And it's all about find the job and then keep the job and symbols soft skills that you and that class on. Are all about someone jury and these are the things we we want you do it to help you do so you can keep and and accelerate your career. Well and it's it's interesting because we all remember the rather simplistic question that you get asked is a kid what do you wanna be when you grow up when you wanna do when you grow up and and soon enough that turns into woody gonna do next year when did you graduate. But you're really talking about a more rounded approach in terms of teaching skills that are going to be applicable in nearly any. That's right and and I think one of the measurements of success for us money we pay attention to his. And we're we're both we're interested in helping students understand. Four year college any trades and so it's not it's not an automatic you have to go to for your college were all about what are your interest what's the marketplace demanding. What are careers that are developing for for future when and how you can decide exactly. And I think the other thing is if you think about how and again this is where background from from business helps I think. You're always dealing with workforce development issues constantly by the district is just an ongoing challenge. The way I look at Jay is we're helping build foundational skills and I'm so when he. Graduate high school. They have foundational skills no matter where they go. The EU is their future employer can then build on those and develop them the way you want to for whatever business you run. And so we can put those skill sets together and those are foundational matter where they go. Then we've done our job and we've prepared those youth to not only understand how the world works and how they what their career could be in it. But then the employer that they go to now has a more rounded developed person that they can then develop further but they're starting at a better point because of the GA influence they can't. You also talk to you talk about going to work for other people which also mention entrepreneurship. Connie how do you how do you address the key in few. Do we have certain courses that are specifically. Geared toward entrepreneurship. Even in middle school teaching them how to run a business how to create a business plan what happens when. You are in the position and especially for an elementary school program. What happens when you have opened a hot dog stand and you run out of hot dogs and risk customer service coming into this whole thing of what happens to your business plan how do you account for the expenses and the profit. Of this whole operation what happens if one out exceeds the others so we do have the programs in the elementary school. In the middle school and then a more sophisticated level in the high school. We also has two other things where were asking entrepreneurs to command his entrepreneurs are. As they say notoriously but I would take famously. Limited in their time. Sometimes you get attention span so we had in November constantly working as well and they are yeah exactly that's what they should be doing. But we figured if we could. Get them just for an hour to talk to high school kids are out entrepreneurship about what they do with they have time for that. So every November there is G entrepreneurship month. And we ask high schools is they are interested in having an entrepreneur come into their classroom and talk about their business. One example that we had in the past few years is it is it. Berea high graduate. He went to Doria. To talk about the business that he's established and is called bandwagon. And everybody should look at that he is now in Austin make a second OK in an accelerator program. To get funding for his his efforts there's really fast and don't have heard that before we understand why you have bandwagon. I don't I believe the way it works is if we wanna go to a game and we wanna sit next to people. Debt are like minded to. Yes and that we have a way of getting these tickets so that all that works out I have heard this in fact I did a new story about this and one brother station to our sister stations. About this very company and it sounds fantastic it. The online ticket sales and and trading is kind of a burgeoning industry right now on itself like he's really got to. A unique take on that. Any cities from Korea he he is he went to very high school guy and I learned of him through another entrepreneur here in town in Clark medical. He said I had to contact him yet so if you can imagine a group of high school kids from his high school all. Who are looking at a product of their high school who is on the on the very cutting edge of technology and a the growing industry here. And he's telling them how he got there and he didn't go straight from point a to point BER I failures along the way at some challenges along the way he still does. So he is. Talking today and he loves being the role model who's talking about entrepreneurship. As opposed to their reading it in the textbook that they have. It makes all the difference he runs out hot dogs sometimes to I don't think that's just control and it's and it's interesting that that you take this approach to entrepreneurship because. It seems like that sort of spirit that entrepreneurial spirit is president children again. When oil when I think back to my child that you see that the kid with a lemonade stand with a hot dog stand or something you know the big. They've decided to do something because they want to make money and it's a little bit. Rebellious Sonoma and my parents will give me money so I'll make my own or whatever it is what it wherever that comes from a it does need to be fostered in in our youngest children. Right and we had an example just recently of one of our wonderful volunteers he says. Retired from GE and he's entrepreneurial himself he's taught the he waning gave many examples of entrepreneurship including. His was shoveling snow at one time when breast young. The next week one of this was in the fall. One of those students in his class Jimmie hadn't heard virtually anything from during that class came to him and said. Just want to know that I started my own business last week and so Ralph said to him so what is a teacher doing. And he said well I decided that that if you could shovel snow than I could go out and start a leak freaking business. So the concept that that now is teaching can yeah including money management. Is going to be invaluable that's the way people learn is through discovering it on their own. How do students get involved in these classes are somebody's listening right now and they eat they either attend one of the schools are made their parents. Are listening and they they want their kids to get involved in JA how'd they do that. Here's the great thing it used to be that junior achievement was for only a select group of kids. Here it's when the school asks for it okay and then we respond and we teach an entire class or maybe entire grade are maybe an entire school. And so this is the program that Karrie mentioned before called. And when you referred earlier to what is the school doing in the way those Career Education. What happened in 2014. Is that we met with the Greenville county than middle school superintendent and at that time. And said I just just what you know what the programs are that we had he said the jays by future program that concentrates on career readiness were readiness skills. Fits in perfectly. Which is our individual graduation plant I said what's that. And he said. After eight at eighth grade in middle and eight grade every eighth grader in Greenville canny. Pass to meet with the college in with the guidance counselor in with their parents and determine sort of what career they wanna pursue each grade. So that they can determine the direction that they want ago in high school. So he said that dovetails perfectly. So now our our program the map that Gary spoke of that shows them how they're gonna get from middle school. All the way up to where their career is right academic experiences what experiences but act extracurricular activities. What people they're gonna need to see. That's goes to their guidance counselor who now has a frame of reference that goes across the entire county. So every middle school has this same frame of reference that will help plan their high school career and and may be beyond. So if somebody's listening in their students are not already involved and jade they need to talk to the school of say you called today yes. And these classes I think you mentioned are all talk about volunteers how do you volunteer if you wanna get involved with today you can go to our web site you can call our office. And Susan Spencer is our director of education in volunteers to crank call her directly. And what she does is get a little information she then will train new or you can come to us sort of our luncheons are current orientation session to learn more about it. But there's a lot of information on our website if you click the tab for volunteer got a and that website just make sure that people heard it JK. Upstate SC dot org. Is I get paired JA upstate SE dot org there's there's tabs for volunteers how would Gary Harrell is has JA funded in the upstate. We do a couple of different ways first we are obviously. Discussing are our benefits to corporations and who can and sponsors the the school programs that Connie mentioned. A mystery individual donations and grants so it's all self funded. By a column by our our team. And that's one of the things were working on at a more level is improving our relevance and relationship with corporations to show how we're connecting at an eighth grade level. So that when they hit third hit the streets after high school. They're more prepared to be productive than being developed by you well on their employer sort trying to make that relevant to companies so that they'll provide volunteers sponsorship money. And and and then individual donations of well. Or and that's that's an interesting point give us an elevator pitch to achieve entrepreneur or there's the business owner that you might be hoping to get. I donations from on a corporate side rather than ended individuals sure. Point one of the things that's come out recently and they the workforce gap in Greeneville is 181000. Positions are unfilled because we don't have the people killed thousands. Almost forty in the state of South Carolina while. So what what we try to look as Jay is a pipeline fill or so and eighths in starting K through twelve but I think we're focusing more towards the middle schools because that's where I think we can have more. In pack for. Educational is who we're simply giving them more prepared so that. That we're filling that gap and we're trying to help companies understand. Were we can have relevant. Teachings with them and using you work your volunteers coming from your corporation. So that that helps them be feel more ownership of it right it's also very good development thing for some of the employees to get in front of students and present and improve their skill sets that I call CI. There's that old adage that if it did does he can do and those who can't teach and I've always said no if you can teach something you know how to deal absolutely. Absolutely and teaching a class by the way is. It is the most impact full weight to understand Jake and and again as Connie said earlier you can volunteer one time. Teach one class one day. To get an experience of power really works all the materials are prepared by JA the training is done by Jay for the volunteers and gosh if I can teach cost anybody can just twice so. I think that's the motion in packed full way to understand the message in the the material that's being presented to the students and then you bring your own personal experiences to the table is. Is a very powerful before we run out of time here we actually disconnect a couple minutes left let's talk about some of the things that are coming up for junior achievement of upstate. The JA tightened challenge to me about that coming locally yes that's occurring on April 13 a guy in Spartanburg at milking university. And in in Milliken they haven't education part their catch and that consists of tightened challenge titan is one of our courses it's an online business simulation. It's a regional competition. The kids have had the program in their high schools and then they come together to compete for that. And that tops three winners earned on scholarships to post secondary education. And along with that we have some career skills workshops. And just this year we're gonna focus on communications. So that is on April 13. And we also part of that career skills workshops. Is a sort of a 121 mock interview or practice interview so we need some volunteers who would be intercede in spending. About from 1 o'clock to 3 o'clock on April 13 upping applicants okay disinterested let me know. And again the JA upstate SE dot org website where people can go to volunteer for that. Particular event or to volunteer in general aura as a as Gary was talking about make individual donations to junior achievement. And real quickly and the you've got a golf tournament coming up to do it's if most of fund golf tournament anybody's ever been to it's on June 8 and it's it's. Preserved Saturday okay. Connie Lanzl president and Gary Bernardez is the chair-elect of the JA junior achievement upstate South Carolina have been my guess they think you very much for being here thank you. Thanks heavens that's been my pleasure. I'm Chris Evans and this is been focus on the upstate. You've been listening to focus on the upstate with Chris Evans if you would like more information on today's topic email Chris. C Evans