Home Financial responsibility Bill Atkinson interviews Paul Kappel, CEO of JA Central Maryland and Tom Sadowski, Executive Director of MEDCO

Bill Atkinson interviews Paul Kappel, CEO of JA Central Maryland and Tom Sadowski, Executive Director of MEDCO


On Wednesday, more than 100 business leaders, government officials and students will gather at Junior Achievement (JA) of Central Marylandof its new head office in Halethorpe to celebrate the grand opening of its new Youth Workforce and Innovation Centre.

Attendees will tour the facility’s 30,000 square feet of unparalleled interactive learning space, designed for early workforce development. This real-world facility allows elementary, middle and high school students to engage in JA’s proven Capstone program, teaching them the skills to be competitive in the workplace, how to be financially responsible and create businesses.

The space will also provide versatile opportunities to support additional community programs and bring business and education leaders together, bridging talent development initiatives from K-12, post-secondary and colleges. adults. The institution aims to serve more than 40,000 students a year, as well as thousands of parents and community volunteers, educators and business leaders.

The opening of this new facility comes at a time when Maryland’s workforce development challenges are significant. Research shows that high school student engagement in the classroom is only 40%. Not surprisingly, only 11% of business leaders believe graduates have the skills and competencies needed to enter the job market. Moreover, Baltimore college students born into poverty have only a one in ten chance of reaching the top fifth percentile of income.

Thanks to this new initiative, Junior Achievement will be able to extend its proven impact. Compared to the general population, JA students obtain employment at a higher rate while earning 20% ​​more. JA alumni are also 2.5 times more likely to start a business, are 30% more likely to have a college degree (and 67% more likely to have an advanced degree), and ultimately to be better off than their parents.

President and CEO of JA Central Maryland, Paul Kappel Jr. and J. Thomas SadowskiExecutive Director, Maryland Economic Development Corporation (MEDCO), sat down with City Biz to discuss the potential of the Youth Workforce and Innovation Center and what it will mean for students, teachers and businesses in the region.

Interview Questions:

Paul: Tell us about the Youth Workforce and the Center for Innovation. What is that? What will he do? How many students will go there each year? What are some of the programs?

To M: What are some of the issues you see in our region and how is JA addressing them? What challenges do students face? And who needs to be involved for these experiments to succeed?

Paul: Where does JA come in?

To M: From your perspective, why is the Youth Workforce and Innovation Center important and how will local employers and government agencies benefit?

To M: Why is it so important to create a pipeline to business and industry? I understand that in cyber there are jobs available for 25,000 people. Does JA provide solutions?

Paul: Does JA fill the pipeline?

Paul: Many people have heard of Junior Achievement, but what programs does JA offer and why should educators, elected officials and local business leaders care?

To M: How to break the noise? Kids want to be TikTok sensations or play professional sports but the percentages are tiny? How to change your mindset?

To M: You have been president of JA for about five years. Why? Do you see it changing lives?

Paul: Which schools are involved in JA and how many students are engaged in JA programs each year?

To M: Which companies are involved in JA? Are they putting skin in the game?

Paul: Where do you see Junior Achievement in five years? What kind of impact can the organization have in the Baltimore area?

Connect with Tom and Paul on LinkedIn

Bill Atkinson launched Atkinson Strategic Communications in January 2020 after 15 years in the public relations industry and 21 years as a journalist. Its customers include Coca-Cola Consolidated, the nation’s largest bottler of Coca-Cola products, the American Beverage Association, Howard Bank, Ambu, a Danish medical device manufacturer with US headquarters in Columbia, Maryland, and Think Systems, a Baltimore-based management consulting firm.

Prior to starting his own company, Atkinson was a partner at 212 Communications, which he joined in June 2015, and focused on strategic and crisis communications, media relations and local strategies. Prior to that, he was senior vice president of global public relations agency Weber Shandwick. At Weber’s Baltimore office, Atkinson specialized in strategic and crisis communications as well as reputation management. Clients included Constellation Energy, Honeywell, General Motors, Bank of America, Promontory Financial Group and 1st Mariner Bank.

Maryland Central Junior Achievement is part of the largest organization dedicated to inspiring and preparing young people to succeed in a global economy. Through a network of dedicated volunteers, JACMD delivers hands-on programs that show more than 30,000 K-12 students each year the realities of how careers, money, and business ownership work. JA experiences have been proven to give students an edge in college completion, career readiness, earning potential, and business start-up. For more information, visit JAMaryland.org.

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