How many times have you heard someone — or maybe you yourself — say they never learned something in school that they absolutely could use today? Perhaps it was taxes. Perhaps it was the ability to understand money management, or complex financial terms. Or maybe you just wish a class you took taught you the basics of starting a business.

Junior Achievement (JA) of the Heartland is a non-profit organization predicated on bestowing such information to young students. Their education goals are straight-forward: work readiness, entrepreneurship, and financial literacy. They want to create the next generation of successful businessmen and women.

Even better, they love to see the process become cyclical, with young people aspiring to and eventually establishing their business roots in the Tri-States.

Scott Ellerbach, Senior Vice President of Community Relations with JA's Dubuque branch, stopped in studio to discuss the Junior Achievement Business Hall of Fame event happening this week, as well express a need for volunteers.

The Hall of Fame ceremony will take place at the Diamond Jo Casino Thursday, June 16th. This year's inductees are Jim Giese of Giese Commercial Roofing, David Spahn of Dubuque Stamping & Manufacturing, and Jeff Theis of ProPulse.

"The Business Hall of Fame celebrates the entrepreneurial spirit of the Tri-State area," Ellerbach said. "These gentlemen have done great things by way of creating workforce and employment opportunities for people throughout the area [....] We're really just celebrating them Thursday night."

The Hall of Fame ceremony will include a reception, dinner, and of course, the induction ceremony. Ellerbach calls it one of the JA's "premier events."

"[Giese, Spahn, and Theis are] great individuals and I've really enjoyed getting to know them over the last several months," Ellerbach added. "The more we can do to help prepare youth in our community to do the things these gentlemen have done, I think we can all benefit from that."

Ellerbach stated that over 4,000 kids go through the nationwide program every year. Kids are taught business acumen and what it takes not only to make it in the workforce, but how to succeed and continue to find upward advancement.

Dubuque's JA branch is seeking additional volunteers, as there are a plethora of new programs being requested for the upcoming school year. Individuals do not necessarily need to be professionals in any given field. They simply need to have their heart in the right place and be willing to work with teachers and students in their desired grade level. All that information can be obtained on the organization's official website.

Dubuque's JA of the Heartland branch is located in the Schmid Innovation Center in Dubuque's Millwork District (900 Jackson Street, LL5). You can also take a listen to my interview with Scott Ellerbach below!

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