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People’s United Community Foundation grant helps Junior Achievement Summer Program

SPRINGFIELDJunior Achievement of Western Massachusetts (JAWM), which provides workforce readiness, entrepreneurship, and financial literacy programs to K–12 youth, recently received a $5,000 grant from the People’s United Community Foundation to support its Summer BEE (Business and Entrepreneurial Exploration) program for middle and high school students.

The funds will be used to provide out-of-school educational experiences for youth from 6th to 12th grades focusing on financial literacy, entrepreneurship and career exploration/work readiness and STEM education.

“This grant will allow a group of students to expand their entrepreneurial knowledge and explore the business and learning opportunities around them during the summer,” said Jennifer Connolly, president of JAWM. “We are pleased to have the support of People’s United Community Foundation and to be able to bring a summer learning experience to students in our area.”

The program includes in-class learning, hands-on learning and experiential out-of-school learning experiences such as lessons about the water ecosystem with presentations, videos and techniques learned to test the water in the nearby Connecticut River. To learn problem-solving, decision-making and teamwork, students form companies, create a product, market and sell the product, with the goal of earning a profit. Students have several opportunities to sell their products and to pitch the companies to businesspeople, family and friends.

“We are proud to support JA’s Summer BEE program, which focuses on providing a positive experience in STEM education and entrepreneurship, while also helping to reduce summer learning loss,” said Karen Galbo, executive director of People’s United Community Foundation. “JA does an excellent job in providing innovative programs that keep youth engaged in learning opportunities that teach valuable career skills.”

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