In 1953, a management group from GE introduced Junior Achievement to the area by establishing Junior Achievement of Schenectady. During that first year of operation, 160 Schenectady area high school students participated in the JA Company Program.
Recognizing the impact the JA program had on the business acumen of student participants, the JA board of GE executives expanded the program to include students from Schenectady, Albany, Rensselaer and Saratoga county high schools. The decision to include a larger geographical area necessitated a name change to properly reflect the new expanded area of operation. So in 1973, the name was changed to Junior Achievement of the Capital District of New York, Inc.
As the area of coverage began to grow, so did the number of programs offered, the targeted demographic of student participants and the method of program delivery. For the first 25 years, Junior Achievement was an after school program for high school students. In the late 1970s a new program was developed targeting middle school students. In 1979, Project Business was introduced to the area becoming Junior Achievement’s first in-school program marking a fundamental shift in the delivery system. Today, 98% of all student participants receive Junior Achievement during the regular school day. In 1985 in-school programs targeted toward elementary and high school students followed suit giving JA a presence at all levels of the formal educational process.
In 2001, it was time once again for Junior Achievement to consider the many students from surrounding counties who did not have the opportunity to experience the Junior Achievement program. So with a grant provided by the Charitable Venture Foundation, Junior Achievement again expanded its area of operation to included 12 counties from Ulster County in the south to Warren County in the north and west to Fulton County. A name change to Junior Achievement of Northeastern New York followed bringing the organization to where we are today. From 160 students in 1953, Junior Achievement now serves more than 14,000 children in 12 Northeastern New York counties with programs in elementary, middle and high school. At the outset, Junior Achievement prepared children for a manufacturing economy, today we prepare them for a more technological world here in Tech Valley.