Making a Difference for Thirty-Five Years and Counting

Bill Taylor started volunteering with JA in the classroom over 35 years ago when it was first introduced to JA Project Business in Houston, TX. After teaching there for a few years, Taylor was hooked on teaching the students so much so that when he was later was hired on with 3M in Austin he requested that he be allowed to continue teaching JA classes. He has taught just about every program that JA offers. In a typical school year Bill teaches about ten JA classes in the Austin and Round Rock area.

Many of Taylor’s past students come up to him years later to thank him. One was a student at the University of Texas working at 3M as a co-op student. She thanked him for what she had learned in her JA class at Deer Park Middle School in eighth grade. Another past high school student said, “I learned more from your JA classes than any class in high school.” An elementary student told Taylor, “JA In a Day class was the best day of my life.” Students love “Mr. Bill” as he is often referred to by his students and he loves sharing JA and his own personal knowledge with them.

“Besides being so rewarding, teaching JA also improved my presentation and speaking skills, keeps me younger by working with students, allows me to give back to my community and also keeps me learning. I think by helping students be better prepared for being productive employees and financially literate, we are helping the future be better for everyone.”

If Taylor could bestow one piece of financial advice on his students it would be, “Start saving early, as compound interest is your friend. Heeding this advice gives one financial independence in their retirement years.”

Thank you Mr. Bill for helping so many young people to reach their full potential!

Not only does Bill volunteer for JA he also pays it forward by donating, to ensure that more students have access to JA programs.

If you would like to learn more about how to get involved with JA, click HERE!

#Volunteer #ChangeAgents

H-E-B gets a Standing Ovation at this year’s Broadway Bound Bowl-a-thon!

“What’s the buzz? Tell me what’s happening...” Jesus Christ Superstar’s rock opera lyrics couldn’t be any better to describe the 19th Annual H-E-B Bowl-a-thon benefiting JA of Central Texas

On Friday, June 28th approximately three hundred H-E-B Partners got on their best Broadway-inspired costumes and shuffle ball changed their way to Highland Lanes for the H-E-B Broadway Bound Bowl-a-thon. As always, this year was a celebration of community and a reunion of H-E-B Partners that are once again going center stage to educate and inspire the next generation of young people through JA. “...this year’s Bowl-a-thon was the BEST to date! It was so organized, festive – with creative design touches, tasty treats and fun for all!” said Tamra Jones, H-E-B Public Affairs manager for the central Texas region

H-E-B Partners really stepped up this year to make the event run so smoothly and to see their vision realized. Not only did they create one or more teams per store to raise money for JA of Central Texas but they also ran the photo booth and helped with set up, break down, registration, photography and much more. H-E-B Partners truly embody the pride of teamwork and giving back to the community. 

“It’s one of my favorite H-E-B events every year. Not just because bowling is super-fun, but because I am a supporter of what Junior Achievement programs are doing for our communities, ” said William Pollock, sixteen year H-E-B veteran and this year’s Bowl-a-thon Chairperson

The vibe was palpable at the Bowl-a-thon with cheers and high fives abound not to mention that Jeff Thomas, H-E-B Senior VP and General Manager joined in on the fun! This year H-E-B Partners worked together in their fundraising efforts by having store cookouts and asking friends and family to give which culminated in a total donation of more than $30,000 to JA of Central Texas! 

Thank you, H-E-B for helping provide more JA programs to Central Texas students! 

Thank you to our In-kind donors, Alamo Drafthouse and Esther’s Follies. 

Click HERE to see all photos from the H-E-B Broadway Bound Bowl-a-thon.

And the 2019 Winner of EY’s Young Entrepreneur Award goes to…

Junior Achievement of Central Texas’ (JACT’s) core belief is “Opportunity is for Everyone.” This principle helps to guide the JACT volunteer mentors who work with hundreds of local teens from a variety of backgrounds to start and run real businesses through the JA Company Program. Ernst & Young (EY) is a dedicated community supporter of the JA Company Program and JA serves as the youth entrepreneurship partner for EY.

This year, EY has helped JA Company Program student Yoselin Molina start the path towards realizing her dreams of entrepreneurship by awarding her the prestigious 2019 EY Young Entrepreneur of the Year Scholarship Award

Although Yoselin just completed her junior year Austin ISD’s Travis Early College High School, this is the second JA student company she has helped to start. Her first experience was during her sophomore year when she served as the Director of Marketing and Social Media at Hope Goals. This JA student company sold lanyards to spread the joy of soccer to children in countries that could not afford to buy equipment. When she returned to the JA Company Program in her junior year, she joined an incubator group where she launched her own enterprise - Yoselin Designs, making handmade leather handbags. Yoselin spent her first few months studying the market, prototyping designs and researching different materials to use. In just one month she went from a felt prototype to a completed product. No small feat considering she cuts, punches and sews everything by hand. 

Yoselin’s mentor tells us, “Yoselin puts her whole heart and mind into her company. Not only in the design of her bags but the various details around her business from marketing to finances. Her impressive drive helped take her from a student who was interested in fashion to working Austin fashion week and starting her own handbag company. Not only is Yoselin committed to her own success, but she is always ready to help her classmates with their businesses.”

Her first bag - a hand stitched buffalo leather tote, quickly sold and she re-invested her profits back into her business. This summer Yoselin is designing and producing her first collection of handmade, vegan-leather totes, clutches and key chains with the goal to build enough inventory to launch her first line in the fall.  

Yoselin says: “As I move forward in the future, I want to be able to give back to my community and the harder I work the more I will be able to give.”

Congratulations, Yoselin! We wish you great success in all of your future endeavors.

Thank you to all of our dedicated JA volunteers!

Thank you to EY for their commitment to partnering with JA to create a “Better Working World.”

Twenty years of making an impact that matters ­- Deloitte’s 20th Impact Day

IMPACT Day is an opportunity for Deloitte people to put their passion, determination, and skills to use for the benefit of their communities—leaving behind their laptops, conference calls, and emails to make a difference in the communities they serve. They provide skills-based volunteering and a helping hand to hundreds of not-for-profit organizations where they share their knowledge and expertise.

This summer the Deloitte community volunteered at Wooldridge Elementary School. They delivered JA programs to every student attending the Boys and Girls Club, teaching them about financial literacy and entrepreneurship. In addition to that volunteers wrote countless thank you cards, made phone calls, packed gift bags, and created new kits from recycled JA materials - meaning that Junior Achievement can serve more students with JA programming next year and put the savings directly back into our programs! 

 Thank you, Deloitte!


Frost Bank Teaches Financial Literacy at Oak Springs Elementary

“Partnerships matter!”  said Principal Monica Woods as Junior Achievement and Frost Bank volunteers returned to Oak Springs Elementary on April 23 and 25th for two days of financial education during Financial Literacy Month.

“JA in a Day is a great way for our bankers to get back into the community.”

-Betty Davis, Frost Bank Vice President of Community Development.

Following training by Junior Achievement staff, Frost Bank employees from Commercial Lending, Corporate Banking and Relationship Managers spent the day in an elementary school classroom.  “I love teaching the fourth grade curriculum JA Our Region,” said Tyler Jones, Frost Bank Assistant Vice President, Relationship Manager. “I teach some fundamental tasks of business ownership through a fun game called Hot Dog Stand Game.  The kids get so excited, they don’t realize they are tracking revenue and expenses!”

Frost Bank has been a financial sponsor of Junior Achievement for many years and chooses to return to Oak Springs Elementary in Austin ISD every year.  This year we had 11 volunteers teaching 11 classes with 187 students.

Love was in the Air during Wooten Elementary School’s JA in a Day, sponsored by 3M

Angelo San Segundo, Wooten Elementary School’s principal kicked off JA in a Day on April 26th by saying “We love having JA volunteers in our classrooms!”


Thanks to 3M’s generous sponsorship of JA programming at Wooten Elementary, the 500+ K-5th grade students learned hands on about entrepreneurship, financial literacy and work readiness. This year, Wooten’s JA in a Day happened to coincide with the very same week 3M was moving into a new facility so volunteers from several other firms stepped in to teach the lessons.  CapitalOne Bank, Deloitte Services, A+ Federal Credit Union, TriNet, Frost Bank, and Brentwood Plastics were among the companies who provided volunteers.  Truly a great community collaboration!


Principal San Segundo summed up the successful JA in a Day as follows:


 “Not only are the JA Volunteers trained professionals taking time to inspire our students, but we also love showing the community the great things happening Wooten.”


@GHWootenWarrior  #AISDProud

AT&T Inspires Local Students with ASPIRE Program

On April 12th AT&T opened their doors to students from Bertha Sadler Means YWLA to share with them the possibilities that await when they graduate and encourage them to stay in school. The AT&T Aspire program is designed to open students eyes to the world of work around them and to prepare them with essential career readiness skills that they will need to enter the working world.

Over the course of the Job Shadow the students were able to experience the day in a life of an AT&T employee, learn about how to job hunt and build the perfect resume. They also had the script flipped on them when they were put in the shoes to sell a product to a customer. At the end of the day the students were able to participate in a panel discussion with employees from different branches of the company. Having the ability to ask questions of managers and time to hear how these individuals got to where they are is important for students because they begin to see themselves there as well.

I learned that I should be working on my resume now. Even though I am not really looking for a job yet it is good to start keeping track of all of my accomplishments and awards. My resume has all of my volunteer activities as well as the clubs I am a part of, and the awards I have won at school.


We want to thank AT&T for hosting our JA Job Shadow, supporting our students and helping them step out of their comfort zones to learn new skills. Many of these students do not see much beyond their immediate neighborhood, and having the opportunity to meet people from their community that grew up where they did makes a world of difference. These students have a bright future, and it was made a bit brighter because of the mentorship from AT&T volunteers.

Austin-area Women Learn Why Financial Equity Matters at JA F.E.M. Forum

JA of Central Texas kicked off Financial Literacy Month by bringing together over 100 women executives, emerging leaders and students to learn how to improve their own financial wellness and empower others to become more financially literate at the inaugural JA F.E.M. Forum.  Speaker and Panel Moderator Lisa Kottler set the stage for the event when she shared that financial inequity for women can start at an early age - a recent report found parents paid boys twice as much for doing chores per week than girls.


The panel of women experts included Stuart Vick SmithTausha RobertsonTiffanie Harrrison, Kelcy Flores, and Allegra Moet Brantly. During a discussion about learning to make your money work for you, panelist Allegra Moet Brantly challenged the audience by asking "is your money sitting on the couch watching Netflix or is it working out on the treadmill?" Other words of wisdom from panelists included ask for a mentor, always pay yourself first by saving a set amount from each paycheck, don't spend more than you earn and ask the questions that feel on the edge of comfort when negotiating your salary.


“Power is unlimited, we don't have to compete with each other to reach our goals” were the reflections from JA teen entrepreneur and student speaker Lawrel Andry on what she’s learned about how women can be stronger together. The JA F.E.M. Forum culminated with table attendees working together on a JA Financial Literacy Lesson on budgeting. JA-developed lesson plans are engaging and easy-to-follow, allowing JA volunteers to incorporate their unique experiences.

Inspiring Aspiring Female Entrepreneurs

During a Ladies of Distinction Meeting at LBJ ECHS, Sheila Hawkins Bucklew from Hawkins Bucklew Jewelry Designs came to talk with the girls about her entrepreneurial journey and what she has learned along the way. During her JA Launch Lesson Sheila shared how she went from a real estate to a jewelry entrepreneur and how perseverance plus a clear vision along the way helped her achieve her dreams. She encouraged the girls to be confident and determined, and never take their eye off of the vision they have for themselves. Through this session  the girls shared their passions and gifts to see how they align and what they are doing to grow towards their goals.

“Our biggest takeaways from today was- just do it! Stop planning and don’t listen to the self doubt, it will stop you. It doesn’t have to be perfect to get started, do it now! “

Sheila also highlighted how entrepreneurship gives women options to do and be whatever they want, and that there is a community supporting you; “The best thing about entrepreneurship is that we are collaborators, not competitors!” This group of ladies are the next generation of attorneys, doctors, educators, entrepreneurs and leaders in their community. We are so thankful to Sheila Hawkins-Bucklew for spending her time with them today and for the Ladies of Distinction for having a JA Launch Lesson. We can’t wait to see what companies these ladies start!

Spots open for Austin's Park n' Pizza Job Shadow January 28th!


Interested in learning more about the hospitality and entertainment industry?

Join us on January 28th for a Junior Achievement Job Shadow in partnership with the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions (IAAPA). During this afternoon participants will get a behind the scenes look at how Austin’s Park n’ Pizza operates. Learn the ins and outs of the different aspects of this business, then participate in the working session with members from IAAPA. This is an opportunity to learn this business from the inside out.


Date: January 28, 2019

Time: 2:00pm-5:00pm

Location: 16231 N Interstate 35 Frontage Rd, Pflugerville, TX 78660

Participants must be able to provide their own transportation to the venue.

Want to join us? Sign up Here!

Junior Achievement at Texas A&M Central Texas

On November 9, 2018 Texas A&M Warriors Accounting Society partnered with Junior Achievement of Central Texas to bring a group of students from the Killeen ISD Career Center on Campus for a day of financial literacy education. During that day over 60 students received exposure to financial literacy education delivered by student volunteers who acted as ambassadors of Texas A&M Central Texas. While on campus students received information about how to plan financially for their future and spent time on a college campus where they received a tour of the facilities, learned about available programs, and gained insight about how to apply to become a student at Texas A&M Central Texas. The group of students from the Warriors Accounting Society to took on a leadership role while guiding students through the JA activities and sharing their personal stories about education and their chosen career path. Thank you to Texas A&M Central Texas, the Warriors Accounting Society and Killeen ISD Career Center for coming together for this event. Because of you Junior Achievement was able to bring financial literacy education to a new group of students who otherwise would not have had access to these programs. We look forward to seeing you again next year!

JA Maker Bowl 2019

Last week, JA Maker Bowl brought together Austin-area businesses and supporters of JA of Central Texas for an afternoon of friendly competition, fun with colleagues and friends as well as the opportunity to raise funds to help bring JA’s programs to more students. Our hats go off to the Westlake Gutter Girls Team and to Bill Taylor for winning the coveted fundraising prizes. Special thanks go to EY for being a Kingpin Sponsor and to MHA Architecture and Agile Assets for their Lane Sponsorships.

A Glimmer of Hope enables JA Start Up Summer Incubator at LBJ High School

JA Start Up Summer Incubator keeps students engaged and new ventures emerge. 

During June, JA students worked through their business ventures as part of A Glimmer of Hope Austin's investment in our programs at LBJ High School. Program participants learned the fundamentals of entrepreneurship, worked on new ventures, received mentorship and worked on prototyping new ideas.

AT&T Inspires JA Students this Summer

This week Junior Achievement of Central Texas with African American Youth Harvest Foundation were able to team up to take a group of students to visit AT&T and participate in their Aspire program. This program serves to inspire students to reach their full potential, learn about what it takes in the working world and receive mentorship from AT&T employees. While on site students were able to tour the facility and learn more about all of the jobs that are available, as well as experience the unique and fun culture in the office.

Students were able to shadow different departments throughout the day to experience what a day in the life of an AT&T employee feels like. Human resources pitched in by helping the students craft their resume and shared their inside tips and tricks for job hunting and interviewing.This is a chance for students to see what opportunities lay in their own back yards, and hopefully gain some insight into what it takes to land the job and be a great employee.

JA is so thankful for our partnership with AT&T and that they are so open to share their wonderful office and experience with us. Thank you for helping inspire and build the future of Central Texas.  

Local JA Company is off to Washington DC to Compete at the National Student Leadership Conference

ONZ, a JA Company, from Round Rock High School has been selected as one of 15 teams to compete at the Junior Achievement National Student Leadership Summit (NSLS) in Washington, D.C.!

On June 18th, the students traveled to the nation’s capital to compete with teen entrepreneurs from across the United States for the top honor of JA Company of the Year, and college scholarships totaling $35,000.

Companies must demonstrate their business acumen, creativity and entrepreneurial thinking in a competitive environment on a national stage—showcasing their companies to Members of Congress and business leaders. Stay tuned to hear more about their trip and their experience!

Lawrel Andry wins the EY Young Entrepreneur of the Year Scholarship

“Entrepreneurs are the driving force behind growth and positive change, and at EY we believe it is vital to help enable our future generation of innovators,” (Randy Cain, Vice Chair and Southwest Region Managing Partner, Ernst & Young LLP, and JA USA board member.)

This year, more than 350 local teens started, capitalized and ran real businesses through the JA Company Program with mentorship from local business leaders. These companies provided services and sold products online, in retail outlets and in their communities. With impressive sales, successful stock offerings to outside investors, invitations to local and national pitch competitions -- and their fair share of mistakes and pivots, these teens learned first hand the incredible hard work and resilience required to be an entrepreneur.

From this group of hundreds of local teen entrepreneurs, Ernst & Young selected Lawrel Andry from Cedar Ridge High School in Round Rock ISD as the winner of this years Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award. 

Lawrel became an entrepreneur as a high school junior. Through the JA Company Program, she started Raider DuraCables- a company that manufactures and sells high quality phone and electronic cables reinforced to prevent material fatigue. Her company was invited to pitch at the FedEx Junior Business Challenge during Dell MatchPlay. Lawrel led her team’s pitch in front of Andy Roddick, Pat Perez and the founders of William Murray Golf and Lucky Penny. Quickly she realized the competition was fierce and it inspired her to work even harder. DuraCables was invited to pitch at 1 Million Cups- going toe to toe with other startups. Lawrel’s company won the Innovation Award at the Round Rock Entrepreneurship showcase.

JA Board Chair Joe Cestari said, “Lawrel is an entrepreneur who already thinks like an executive. She’s quick on her feet and articulates her vision with confidence and clarity. JA knows investing in people like Lawrel will fuel Austin’s capacity for innovation.”

Lawrel’s message to up and coming entrepreneurs is, “to always persevere, and do it the right way. Remember genuine connections and relationships are your biggest accomplishments so always be kind to others. Be professional and keep high standards for yourself but remember, everyone is human and imperfection is okay. Most importantly, be humble and never...ever attempt to give up learning because it is vital to survival and success.

Congratulations, Lawrel. We applaud your initiative, risk taking and willingness to break the mold. EY and JA are honored to invest in your future!

Round Rock's First JA Entrepreneurship Showcase a Success

On Thursday, April 5th,  JA in partnership with the Round Rock Chamber and Round Rock ISD, co-hosted the first annual RRISD Entrepreneurship Showcase. The showcase featured the five student-led companies that were launched during the 2017-2018 school year and provided an opportunity for students to deliver a final executive summary of their company's performance to their peers and the community.

Prior to the 2017-2018 school year, RRISD high school students had access to only one semester of entrepreneurship education. With an expansion in offerings, high school students now have access two semesters of entrepreneurship education and are able to participate in the JA Company Program that provides them with the skills and tools to launch their own companies.

Through this expansion with Round Rock ISD and a partnership with the Round Rock Chamber Junior Achievement has been able to serve over 100 high school students with entrepreneurship programming. 

Congratulations to our RRISD Entrepreneurship Showcase winners:

  • Global Connection Award- Stony Pop from Stony Point High School 
  • Innovative Product Award- Dura Cables from Cedar Ridge High School 
  • Know Your Market Award- Point Attire from Stony Point High School 
  • Outstanding Marketing Award- StickED from McNeil High School 
  • Social Impact Award- ONZ from Round Rock High School

Thank you to our Guest Judges:

Finally, thank you to our teachers who opened their classrooms and went on this crazy adventure with us. You have been the greatest support system for their students, and volunteers through the ups and downs of running a business. Thank you so much for allowing us to work with you and your students, we cannot say enough about how hard you work and how amazing you are. Thank you to Diane Wedig, Vera Cruz, Tiffanie Harrison and Bob Moliski. 

We also want to take this time to thank our wonderful JA volunteers as well. These community members have volunteered countless hours to deliver the JA Company program to their classes, answer emails, help sort out bank accounts, you name it! They are the best mentors and sounding boards that we could ask for to lead this program. Thank you for all of your dedication and support, without you JA would be nothing. Bill Taylor, Dennis Menendez and Mark Richardson.

EPIC Office Hours for JA Company Program Students at the Capital Factory

On April 4th Notley, EO of Austin & Capital Factory hosted EPIC Office Hours for local teen entrepreneurs. JA Company Program Students  came to the Capital Factory to discuss their business ideas with entrepreneurs who have built businesses with annual revenue of $1 million or more and/or secured funding of $2 million or more. In addition to networking with mentors & influencers each company had lightning round learning sessions with 15 minutes of high-quality mentorship with some of Austin’s most successful entrepreneurs, top figures, and investors.

Students were able to come with their business idea and product and discuss specific hurdles they were encountering or seek advice on how to run their business. Every company left with a list of useful action items to work on to make their company better and more competitive. 

Thank you to our mentors who took the time to work with this up and coming generation of entrepreneurs:

Travis High School hosts IPO Days for their JA Companies

This week on March 28th and 29th there was an under the radar public offering.

Students participating in the JA Company Program at Travis High School hosted their first IPO Days. During their class periods six JA Companies pitched their business to local business leaders in hopes of raising the funding necessary for their products to get off the ground.  This event gave our students the opportunity to interact and communicate with business people from the community, practice their pitch and presentation skills, as well as opens an opportunity to raise capital for their companies.

With a wide array of products, from bracelets and t-shirts to earphone holders and board games, there was a company for every interest. Not only were students given the opportunity to pitch their company to the public, they also received feedback and guidance on some of the aspects of their company that they were having difficulties with. At the end of these two days we are happy to report that all companies have reached their fundraising goal and are ready to take the next step in creating their companies!