Junior Achievement, a volunteer organization designed to help youth understand finance and learn job skills, is parting company with the ACCESS food agency and will move into the former South Medford High School building.

Junior Achievement, a volunteer organization designed to help youth understand finance and learn job skills, is parting company with the ACCESS food agency and will move into the former South Medford High School building.

Beginning July 6, Junior Achievement will be fully operational at what's now being called the Medford School District Education Center at 815 S. Oakdale Ave., Medford, said Mary Holbrook, the organization's district director. The program was previously part of the program operated by ACCESS, whose primary mission is to provide food and other assistance to low-income people.

Junior Achievement will no longer be affiliated with ACCESS. Instead, it will become an independent and self-sufficient district operation of Junior Achievement of Oregon, which already has offices in Portland, Eugene, Klamath Falls and Bend.

Despite ending a 17-year relationship, ACCESS leaders said they supported the program's efforts to educate youths on finances and the working world.

"In a struggling economy, the real-life financial training Junior Achievement provides our youth is more valuable than ever," said Jackie Schad, ACCESS executive director.

Holbrook said Junior Achievement works because students are exposed to the real world of work and finances.

"JA volunteers teach young people how to generate and manage money, attain job skills that contribute to business and community growth, and apply entrepreneurial thinking to the workplace," said Holbrook in a press release.

"JA volunteers bring the real world to students, opening their minds to their potential and preparing them for the world of work."

Businesses interested in volunteering with Junior Achievement can contact Holbrook at 541-774-4334 before July 5, or 541-482-3920 after July 5, or email mholbrook@ja-pdx.org.

Reach reporter Sanne Specht at 541-776-4497 or email sspecht@mailtribune.com.