Students will get a chance to hear what they need to know to be business savvy during the "JA in a Day" event at Ruth Doyle Intermediate School on Wednesday, said Tonya Villines, education program manager for the Junior Achievement of Arkansas. The one-day event is the first of its kind for local students, she said.

"We’re teaching the students and giving them skills they need to be successful," Villines said.

More than 35 volunteers

— mostly from Southwestern Energy — will partner with classroom teachers in about 17 classes. Students will hear about ways to be financially literate and discover what job skills employers look for, Villines said. The five-part program includes lessons on saving money, building a business plans, turning ideas into a business and advertising, according to the group’s national website.

Junior Achievement is dedicated to "giving young people the knowledge and skills they need to own their economic success," according to a news release from Junior Achievement of Arkansas. Nationwide, the "JA in a Day" events have reached 417,000 students during this past academic year. What Junior Achievement teaches is in line with school curriculums and gives students a hands-on experience, said Stephanie Bell, spokesman for Junior Achievement USA.

"It gives kids the opportunity to, not only learn, but to practice concepts," Bell said. "They get to immerse themselves into JA programs."

Principal Debi Avra said she jumped at the chance to offer her students a way to see how the things they learn in school matter in the real world.

"I think it’s going to open their eyes to opportunities and help them connect with what they are learning right now in school for the future," Avra said.

Acxiom Corp. and Southwestern Energy volunteers are trained before getting into the classroom, said Chad Kauffman, president of the Arkansas achievement group. The volunteers for the event plan to discuss their personal experiences in the business world with about 400 students, Kauffman and Villines said.

In the state’s Junior Achievement news release, an official from Southwestern said the company "is committed to financial literacy." Rich Plageman, general manager of Desoto Sand-Southwestern Energy and chairman of the North Central Regional Board of Directors, said employees know early education is critical to create a generation of "knowledgeable consumers."

"Junior Achievement programs are one of the best ways to reach not only young people, but their families, as we know that the students go home and share what they have learned in class," Plageman said.

The fact that this is the first "JA in a Day" event makes it special, Villines said. Faulkner County Judge Preston Scroggin plans to present a proclamation about the event at the school between 8 and 8:30 a.m. Wednesday, Kauffman said.