Thirty-two Milwaukee-based Komatsu Mining Corp employees participated in our 10th Annual “JA in a Day” at Morgandale Elementary and Middle School this May. Coordinated by Junior Achievement of Wisconsin, the program works to foster work-readiness, entrepreneurship and financial literacy skills. According to JA, their 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.” By participating in JA in a Day, students learn how they can contribute to their own community in a valuable way.

Junior Achievement provides volunteers with the curriculum and materials necessary to teach a full day to the students. Volunteers partner up, prepare in advance and take on a classroom as teachers for a day. Lessons vary from teaching kindergartners about individual choices, money, the importance of saving and giving, and the value of work to second graders learning about the importance of quality when manufacturing a product to fourth graders operating a hypothetical hot dog stand to understand the fundamental tasks performed by a business owner and to track the revenue and expenses of a business.

Komastu Mining Corp is proud to celebrate our 10th year in supporting this program in partnership with both Junior Achievement and Morgandale school.

“We’re honored and proud to have such a long-standing partnership with both Junior Achievement and Morgandale School” said Cathy Stagmer, Manager-Social Responsibility. Adding, “We’ve worked to build a year-round connection through this and other JA volunteer opportunities with Morgandale. This gives the students the chance to meet more employees from Komatsu, showcasing a wide variety of careers in their own backyard. When the students and their families drive past our facility they can relate to what we do within our facility, talk about the people they’ve met and perhaps one day aspire to becoming a Komatsu employee one day.”

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Employees volunteer for the JA in a Day experience for different reasons but for Stephanie Picchiottino, Process Support Specialist – Logistics, her motivation sprang from her own personal experiences with Junior Achievement.

“I remembered what it felt like to be a student in a JA classroom. It was a good feeling to give back the positive memories that JA had given me. In some ways it feels like you are expanding the world for them, by drawing examples of how they can connect their own interests with the global marketplace. The Global Marketplace was a very important, and very appropriate topic for discussion as so much of what we do today involves these cross-cultural experiences.”

Picchiottiono also commented on the value of the JA in a Day experience: “JA in a Day gives students the opportunity to think outside the box in applying JA concepts to their external interests. It is a catalyst to help them recognize and appreciate what’s happening outside their classroom.” Adding, JA in a Day is a rewarding and worthwhile experience if even one student can make a personal connection through our lessons. The engagement from JA activities and classroom discussions allows young individuals to expand their mind to be exactly what they need to be – students!”

Investing time and resources into organizations like Junior Achievement and the students at Morgandale School is part of Komatsu’s focus on developing the workforce of tomorrow. By helping students explore career opportunities early on in their educational experience they can broaden their horizons and identify options they might have thought were not possible.

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