COMPANY: Junior Achievement of Central Florida
YEARS IN ORLANDO: 25
YEARS AT COMPANY: Started in February 2014
As a child of an entrepreneur and civic leader, Kathy Panter was raised in a home where providing a “hand up” was practiced and creating your own future was expected. A ninth grader looking for a new adventure, she signed up for Junior Achievement’s “Company Program,” which provides basic economic education for high school students by allowing them to organize and operate an actual business.
It was great experience that Panter later used, working 15 years for the Central Florida Partnership. Now, as president of Junior Achievement, her career has come full circle and she is leading an organization that empowers young people to own their economic success. Working through schools in Orange, Osceola, Seminole, Volusia and Lake counties, JA prepares children for their futures in the areas of workforce readiness and financial literacy, teaching entrepreneurship and the concepts of the free enterprise system.
In addition to serving over 60,000 students in signature classroom programs, Junior Achievement of Central Florida launched the nation’s only JA Leadership Academy at Oak Ridge High School. As Orange County Public Schools’ second largest magnet school, its JA students maintain an average GPA of 3.8 and Oak Ridge High School became a “B” school during the same time the Academy began. The students have the core concepts of entrepreneurship, workforce readiness and financial literacy woven into their entire curriculum.