PHOENIX, Ariz. (April 10, 2009) – Arizona high school students will prepare to enter the workforce by learning integral business skills, such as interviewing techniques, resume writing, conflict resolution, problem solving and interpersonal communications through an innovative program called "JA – You're Hired!" The inaugural event is a partnership between Junior Achievement of Arizona, Inc., and University of Phoenix and is scheduled on Friday, April 29; 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., at Tempe Center for the Arts in Tempe, Ariz.

"This program has been a dream of Junior Achievement for quite some time, but we did not have the financial or tactical support to bring it to fruition until University of Phoenix stepped up to help us develop the curriculum and program logistics," said Melissa Leasher, Director of Program Development, Junior Achievement of Arizona.

Leasher noted that Junior Achievement had been in discussions with a committee of community leaders representing local chapters of the Society for Human Resource Management and Project Management Institute and private companies for several months to develop the concept and pre-curriculum for students. As a result of these ongoing meetings, the committee developed the model for "JA – You're Hired!" Students from throughout Arizona would complete various assignments in preparation of the full-day event, and then attend the daylong workshops to compete, network and learn about various business, communications and workforce skills.

As a leader in higher education and the pioneer in online education, University of Phoenix lent its expertise to develop the online curriculum which students could access throughout the year and participate in self-directed learning to prepare for the April 29 event.

The full-day "JA – You're Hired!" event brings more than 150 students from 15 high schools located throughout Arizona together for a series of workshops and competitions that focus on job aptitude and competence, business networking, work readiness skills and entrepreneurship. In addition, hiring managers from nearly 50 Arizona companies, including the financial sector, education, nonprofit, retail, project management and business, among others, will be on-site to talk with students and offer paid summer internships based on the level of knowledge and aptitude students demonstrate through the curriculum and "JA – You're Hired!" competition. University of Phoenix is one of those companies that will be interviewing students for potential summer internship positions.

"When Junior Achievement approached University of Phoenix to partner in this program, we were more than enthusiastic about it," said Nancy Hennigan, Director of Community Relations, University of Phoenix. "Junior Achievement's mission and values align with the University's goal to educate and prepare students with real-world knowledge—whether those students are teenagers or adults. We want to elevate the knowledge level of tomorrow's workforce, and we couldn't think of a better vehicle to accomplish this than through the 'JA – You're Hired!' event."

In addition to creating the online curriculum for the program and providing financial support, University of Phoenix is looking forward to hiring students for six summer internships at its corporate headquarters in Phoenix.

"We're absolutely thrilled with the level of interest this event has generated from both Arizona high schools and businesses," Leasher said. "What I love about the program is that this is a win-win for everyone involved—the students are learning invaluable lessons that will help them enter and succeed in the job market, and local companies are finding a wealth of diverse young talent in our Arizona youth from which to build their workforce for the future."

For additional details or to participate in "JA – You're Hired!," contact Leasher at Junior Achievement at (480) 219-0220. For information about University of Phoenix programs and curriculum, visit

About Junior Achievement of Arizona

Junior Achievement is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization which believes that every child deserves an education in economics and finances in order to inspire and prepare them for success in a global economy. Serving Arizona's youth since 1957, JA prepares young people for the real world by showing them how to become self sufficient, how to create jobs which make their communities robust, and how to apply entrepreneurial thinking to the workplace. Junior Achievement of Arizona reached nearly 90,000 students during the 2007-2008 school year. For more information on Junior Achievement or ways to get involved, please call 480-377-8500 or visit


University of Phoenix is constantly innovating to help students balance education and life in a rapidly changing world. Through flexible schedules, challenging courses and interactive learning, students achieve personal and career aspirations without putting their lives on hold. As of February 28, 2009, 397,700 students were enrolled at University of Phoenix, the largest private university in North America. University of Phoenix serves a diverse student population, offering associate's, bachelor's, master's, and doctoral degree programs from campuses and learning centers across the U.S. as well as online throughout the world.

Media Contacts:

  • Melissa Leasher, Junior Achievement of Arizona, Inc.; (480) 219-0220
  • Keri Ruiz, C-K PR/University of Phoenix; (602) 417-0695