BUILD: Oakland Is Today’s Junior Achievement Program

BUILD: Oakland is an organization this blogger was totally not familiar with until today and a post on Instagram. The post, which you will see below, featured a photo mostly of young folks, and primarily Asian (didn’t see anyone African American), working intently on what looked like some kind of graphics project.

Then, I saw this paragraph:

BUILD students in Oakland are hard at work manufacturing products to sell to guests at the #BUILDGala Student Marketplace sponsored by @Roofstock – thank you for making this opportunity possible for our students!

So, a quick Google search for ‘BUILD: Oakland’ revealed the existence of a national program that, in description, looks a lot like what was called “Junior Achievement”.

Junior Achievement was and is a non-profit program ran out of high schools, and that featured a corporate sponsor and employee from that company who helped a group of students learn how to start and run a business by starting and running a business. I was in Junior Achievement in Oakland, and my Mom, who worked for United Airlines at the time, was the designated employee representative for a group in San Leandro. That was fun.

(As a note, my Mom tried to get the Oakland Unified School District to work with Junior Achievement during the late 70s, but that effort was like pulling her own hair. By sad contrast, San Leandro welcomed Junior Achievement and her and United Airlines with open arms. Think about it.)

While Junior Achievement still exists today (and appears to have expanded to include all grades k through 12, unless I wasn’t aware it was beyond middle school and high school), it clearly has competition in BUILD: Oakland, BUILD: Bay Area, and BUILD: National:

The webpage for BUILD: Bay Area explains the program:

BUILD is a four-year college readiness program whose mission is to use entrepreneurship-based, experiential learning to ignite the potential of youth in under-resourced communities and equip them for high school, college, and career success.

During the 2014-2015 program year, 80% of Bay Area students are low-income and qualify for free or reduced lunch, 92% are ethnicity under-represented in higher education, and 79% would be from the first generation in their family to graduate from college. Many students also had low middle school GPAs, state test scores, and attendance rates – three early predictors of dropping out of high school that may disqualify our students from other college access programs.

By helping students develop and run their own small businesses, BUILD supplements traditional school with real-world business experiences and critical skill-building for the future. BUILD Bay Area currently serves over 840 students in Oakland and the Peninsula.

BUILD is in Oakland Technical High School as well as Coliseum College Prep Academy, Envision Academy, Golden State College Preparatory Academy, Lionel Wilson College Preparatory Academy, and MetWest High School. The regional director is a man named Ryan Oliver and Ay’Anna Moody, from The Oakland Office of the Mayor, Libby Schaaf, is one of the board members, as well as Erin Schaefer, Managing Director of Partner Development and Service, at YouTube (which I point out, as I’m a YouTube Partner).

For more information on BUILD Bay Area visit the website page here.

Stay tuned.

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