Cat Financial Supports Innovative Junior Achievement Program

Junior Achievement (JA) is one of the nation's largest organizations dedicated to giving the younger generation knowledge and skills they need to create economic success, plan for the future and make smart academic and economic choices. 

Caterpillar and Cat Financial have partnered with JA for decades to support the next generation. The Cat Financial team in Nashville volunteers to promote work-readiness, entrepreneurship and financial literacy skills to local students through various classroom programs annually. 

“At Cat Financial we are devoted to making the community here in Nashville a better place, especially when it comes to the students. We have been partnering with Junior Achievement for over a decade and we see that partnership growing and our investment being returned through the financial-readiness and preparedness of future generations,” says Jamie Engstrom, Chief Information Officer at Cat Financial, JA board member and long-time volunteer. “I think this program helps the community in a tremendous way that’s hard to ignore”.      

Cat Financial has pledged a five-year commitment of $100,000 to support a new Junior Achievement Finance Park. 

What is the JA Finance Park, exactly? It’s a realistic on-site location where students can put into practice what they've learned by developing and committing to a personal budget. JA Finance Park provides students with a solid foundation for making intelligent, personal-finance decisions. The program – dedicated to students in seventh grade through 12th grade – incorporates hands-on classroom activities along with a real-world simulation. 

After taking 12 prep classes at school, the students will come to the park and receive a tablet with a life scenario. This scenario will outline their family situation (married/single, kids/no kids), their job (with gross salary & education requirements), their savings, debt and credit score. Using this information, students will explore different areas of the JA Finance Park, which gives them information about their choices in that specific budget line. The Cat Financial sponsored space in the park teaches students about the process for buying or renting a home, instilling education about credit scores, savings and mortgage approval.

The goal is to have students leave this experience with an idea of a budget they need for the lifestyle they want, including the jobs that will facilitate their financial goals that also match their skills, interests and abilities. 

JA helps students realize that the education they are getting today will help them to have a bright future tomorrow. And, it is dedicated to change in the community. That’s why they have the support of the Caterpillar team to do just that! 

More about Junior Achievement of Middle Tennessee:

JA of Middle Tennessee's volunteer-delivered, kindergarten-12th grade programs foster work-readiness, entrepreneurship and financial literacy skills, and use experiential learning to inspire students in our community to dream big and reach their potential. They’re committed to changing these statistics in their community: 

  • 20% of U.S. students will not complete high school on time and earn a diploma.
  • 49% of U.S. employers recognize that talent shortages impact their ability to serve clients and customers.
  • 36% of Americans say that they have at some point in their lives felt their financial situation was out of control.
  • 91% of millennials wish they had greater access to entrepreneurial education programs.