JA volunteer Tom Getz takes business into the classroom

The Albemarle Corporation is partnering with Junior Achievement to teach students in the Tyrone School District real life skills in business and economics. Albemarle human resources supervisor and Tyrone resident Tom Getz has been a Junior Achievement volunteer for approximately six years. He started by going into Mr. Hasson’s classroom at Tyrone, and he is currently visiting Mr. Linder’s twelfth grade class once a week until the end of this school year.
“It focuses on bringing people from the business community into the schools and focuses on economics, supply and demand and things like that to supplement what teachers are already doing,” said Getz. “What Junior Achievement does is they’ll go out and look for volunteers from the business community to go in and teach the classes that are in the local schools.”
Getz is scheduled to visit Mr. Linder’s class approximately 15 – 20 times before the end of the school year. The students have booklets of lessons that they go over. Also, Getz discusses real life examples of how things work out at the chemical plant at Albemarle Corporation.
“I try to give them a third party perspective on how a topic like supply and demand affects us here at Albermarle instead of just looking at in a book,” said Getz. “I like to try to bring in things from my background like looking for a job, resume writing, interview skills, things that are more focused from the human resources perspective.”
The participating students will pretend to buy and sell stock and follow the stock market for their end of the year project for Junior Achievement. The purpose of this main project is for the students to learn the concept of diversifying their funds.
Also, Getz tries to let the students know that they can make a career choice and become successful right here in Tyrone.
“They can stay in Blair County and make a decent living,” he said. “Right here at Albermarle you have Ph.D. chemists, research chemists, lab techs, chemical engineers and all different career paths.”
The central Junior Achievement office is in Johnstown, and it operates the programs for Bedford, Blair, Fayette, Cambria, Huntingdon, Somerset and Indiana Counties. In Blair County, every school participates in the program except for Williamsburg.
“Junior Achievement has been around since 1919. In the local area it started in the mid 60s. When it first began, it was an after school program where students would meet in the evenings with volunteer advisors of local companies and actually learn about running a business through actually running that person’s own business,” said senior director of district operations Donna Schlosser. “Today’s Junior Achievement is very different from that in that now all of our programs our operated during the normal school hours as part of the school’s curriculum.”
The programs run from kindergarten through twelfth grade, and there is always a need for volunteers to participate. Right now Schlosser said that there is a need for J.A. economics in the Hollidaysburg area. Anyone interested can contact either Donna or Jennifer at 943-5246.
“What we’re trying to do is really try to prepare students for life in general, not only to be successful in whatever future career they might choose but also providing them with life skills that they probably wouldn’t otherwise learn in school if it weren’t for programs like Junior Achievement,” said Schlosser. “We do a lot of activities with students to teach them about personal financial planning, how to budget their money, how to properly conduct themselves in job interviews, those types of things.”