PHOENIX, Mar. 21, 2012 —Arizona high school students will prepare to enter the workforce by learning integral business skills, such as interviewing techniques, resume writing, ethics, problem solving and interpersonal communications through an innovative program called "JA You're Hired!" The program, now in its fourth year, was developed by Junior Achievement of Arizona (JAAZ) and presented by University of Phoenix. The event is scheduled for March 29 from 8:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at the Tempe Center for the Arts.

In preparation for the full-day event in Phoenix, students from throughout Arizona will complete various assignments with the help of Junior Achievement volunteers and the "JA You're Hired!" curriculum.

This year's "JA You're Hired! Challenge" event will bring more than 350 students from 18 Arizona high schools together for a series of workshops and competitions that focus on job aptitude and competence, business networking, entrepreneurship and essential work readiness skills. In addition, hiring managers from over 50 Arizona companies - including those from the financial, education, technology, nonprofit, retail, and business sectors, among others - will be on site to talk with students. Many of the employers present offer summer internships through JA for eligible students who apply through their involvement "JA You're Hired!" program.

"At Junior Achievement, we give young people the knowledge and skills they need to plan for their future, and make smart academic and economic choices," said Melissa Leasher, director of program development for JAAZ. "Students develop skills that help them enter and succeed in the job market, volunteers make a positive difference, and our business partners have a selection of diverse young talent from which to build their future workforce."

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 can access throughout the year and participate in self-directed learning to prepare for the March 29 event. In addition to creating the online curriculum and providing financial support, University of Phoenix is sponsoring this program in Chicago through the local JA affiliate.

"University of Phoenix believes that education is the primary factor that enables individuals to be successful, so it's only natural that we want to be part of that education" said Dr. Bill Pepicello, president of University of Phoenix. "Investing in youth's education is investing in our future -- our economy will rely on these very students. University of Phoenix is committed to helping them achieve their full potential by providing them with the practical, real-world knowledge needed to compete in a growingly diverse economy "

This year's "JA You're Hired! Challenge" program is made possible thanks to the generous support of the University of Phoenix and community partners such as Triton Technologies, Crexando, FedEx, Allstate, bluemedia, Charles Schwab, Manpower, SHRM and others.

For additional details about "JA You're Hired!," contact Melissa Leasher at Junior Achievement at (480) 219-0220, or visit 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 83,000 students during the 2010-2011 school year.

For more information on Junior Achievement or ways to get involved, please call 480-377-8500 or visit

Media Contact:

Stephanie Lough, HMA Public Relations
(602) 957-8881