JACKSONVILLE – Junior Achievement of North Florida President and CEO Steve St. Amand is retiring after 20 years of service. He is stepping down from the position on Dec. 31, nearly 20 years to the …
JACKSONVILLE – Junior Achievement of North Florida President and CEO Steve St. Amand is retiring after 20 years of service. He is stepping down from the position on Dec. 31, nearly 20 years to the day that he joined the organization. St. Amand will be honored for his service with an induction into the Junior Achievement of North Florida Hall of Fame.
St. Amand has been overseeing an area of 26 counties, including Clay, in Florida since Jan. 1, 2001. During his tenure, he has grown JA of North Florida’s program reach from 6,841 students in 2001 to 62,355 students in the 2018-2019 school year and 48,100 students in the most recent school year where in-class education was cut short by the pandemic. Over St. Amand’s 20 years of service, 601,193 young people from kindergarten to 12th grade in North Florida received Junior Achievement financial literacy, workforce readiness and entrepreneurship programs.
Local schools that benefit from JA of North Florida include the Pace Center for Girls in Orange Park and the Seamark Ranch School in Green Cove Springs.
“Twenty years ago, I learned that Junior Achievement was about children, education and free enterprise. It hooked me then and has sustained me for two decades,” said St. Amand. “The staff who have worked at Junior Achievement of North Florida, the 300 businesspeople who over the years have served on the board of directors, and the companies, foundations and individuals who have supported JA were really the ones who made this a successful organization.”
St. Amand said that he took the Junior Achievement position because he was “looking to do something worthwhile.” He was recognized in his first year with Junior Achievement when he was named by JA USA as a finalist for the prestigious Karl Flemke Award.
JA of North Florida has won many awards over the years, but St. Amand is proudest of the local initiatives he created that used JA programs to meet community needs. JA Girl$ was created 12 years ago to bring tailored JA programs to girls and young women especially in areas where women were the only caretaker in the family. JA Boy$, its partner program, was created a few years later. JA Girl$ has been replicated throughout the country and in four foreign countries. It also won the Met Life Foundation for Entrepreneurial Excellence.
JA Work$ is another initiative created by St. Amand and his staff to provide hundreds of high school seniors the wide range of Junior Achievement workforce readiness programs and activities. Selected students are given real-life work experience and are paid a stipend for successful completion. The JA Financial Literacy Center created in 2015 houses The Economics of Healthy Eating, a program developed by Junior Achievement of North Florida in conjunction with UNF’s Brooks College of Health.
This year, JA of North Florida will continue the commitment made 18 years ago to providing JA programs where they are most needed. They will develop and introduce a Black & Minority Initiative that will specifically meet the needs of black and minority students by providing access to financial resources, exposure to minority-owned businesses and mentors, and financial literacy education to ensure they have the tools to own their economic success.
Before joining Junior Achievement, St. Amand worked for two Florida governors and a United States Senator in Washington, D.C. St. Amand was also the Director of Governmental Affairs for the Jacksonville Chamber of Commerce, managed 28 political campaigns and was a registered lobbyist in Florida for 12 years.
St. Amand said, “I got my first 10-hour a day job during the summer when I turned 14 and I worked throughout high school and paid for my college education. I now have three grandchildren who are probably as happy as I am that I am retiring. I have a new generation to which I can introduce fly fishing and a wife of 43 years with whom to enjoy retirement.”