The Walmart Foundation awarded a $50,000 grant to Junior Achievement of Arkansas (JA) to provide programming in economically challenged sections of Central, North Central and Southwest Arkansas.

The “Grade School to Graduation” project will serve 10,000 students in Cleburne, Faulkner, Jefferson, Little River, Lonoke, Pulaski, Van Buren and White counties.

The goal will be to increase students’ understanding of economics, business principles and the benefits of staying in school.

“Too many Arkansas students are dropping out before they earn a diploma,” said Chad Kauffman, president of Junior Achievement of Arkansas.  “If those students had graduated, it would mean millions of dollars in new revenues for the state.”

In 2009, the U.S. Department of Education and the White House embarked on the “Race to the Top” competition to improve high school graduation rates and to adopt core academic standards.  All Junior Achievement lessons are correlated to these national academic standards as well as those of the Arkansas Department of Education.

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