Partnership Profile: Junior Achievement Moves Into New Arena

Jason Galinski, a senior production leader in Newark, Del., and a board member for Junior Achievement of Delaware, says a few words before the opening of the Dow Science Center inside the JA Biztown facility.

Delaware Gov. Jack Markell recently helped launch a new era of enhanced collaboration between Dow and the greater business community, Junior Achievement (JA) of Delaware, and the Delaware STEM Council, to expand STEM-focused career readiness efforts directed at thousands of middle school students across the state.

"The need is significant," Markell said at an event on April 15, noting that Delaware has 3.8 jobs open in STEM fields for every unemployed worker, while there are 1.7 unemployed workers for every available non-STEM job. "Jobs exist in STEM fields and we must to do everything we can to increase the STEM readiness of our students and expand the STEM-capable workforce."

JA’s It’s My Future is an in-school, curriculum-based program designed to educate students about business, economics, and free enterprise and engage them directly with career information and professionals.  At the April 15 event, Dow announced that it is not only investing significant dollars in the program over the next three years through a community grant but also contributing to the 500 STEM professional volunteers needed to mentor the 3,500 students initially participating in this program.  

Delaware Gov. Jack Markell holds the ribbon tight as Dow’s Robert Russell, left, Jason Galinski and JA of Delaware President Rob Eppes, right cut the ribbon during the grand opening of the Dow Science Center.

In addition, the Dow Science Center, located in JA of Delaware’s Biztown, an interactive, social simulation of a community, was officially opened.  Modeled after Dow’s Electronic Materials manufacturing operations in Newark, Del., the center will introduce approximately 6,000 middle school students to Dow careers.  Nearly two years ago, supported with a grant from Dow’s Community Advisory Committee, a team of Dow employees led by Peter Freeman and Robert Russell took the lead in its design and construction, emulating an advanced manufacturing environment. 

“The rewards that students get from the JA experience are real,” said Jason Galinski, a senior production leader at the Newark site and a board member for JA of Delaware. “But it takes more than physical spaces; it takes people. We are committed to bridging the talent and passion of Dow employees to the development of future STEM professionals.”

From Biztown to DowGives to It’s My Future, Dow employees support STEM education in a number of ways.

“JA’s mission is to prepare and inspire young people to succeed in the global economy,” said Rob Eppes, president of JA of Delaware. “Better preparing our students and equipping them with real-life, practical STEM skills will make them more marketable and attractive to potential employers.”