JA introduces education initiative

Jewelers of America is launching a new initiative in member and industry education called “J-Biz,” JA said Thursday in a statement.

The center of this effort is the development of multiple delivery methods for the education programs: in-person, online, at home, or in store.

“We recognize that different people learn in different ways, and that many JA members have only limited access to in-person programs,” said David Peters, JA director of education. “So we are working on ways to present the same education program in different formats.”

Matthew Runci, JA president and chief executive officer, said the association’s executive committee approved a plan to fund the development of education program for several years.

“Clearly, the future success of retail jewelers is tied to education – for both store owners and their staffs,” Runci said. “The development of J-Biz will meet that need by providing more quality education programs that are more accessible to more JA members than ever before.”

J-Biz was developed by a task force of JA members and staff over the past fourteen months, and represents a major shift for JA in the evolution of both program content and delivery. Runci said JA will work with others in the industry to provide quality content.

“We don’t want to duplicate what already exists,” he said. “Our objective is to meet our members’ education needs in these areas through partnerships with other associations and industry educators to adapt the best existing programs to this effort and to develop new programs when needed.”

Originally titled, “Smart Business,” the J-Biz project grew out of discussions at the 2005 JA Affiliate Leadership Conference in Washington on how to expand participation in educational programs.

The J-Biz Task Force’s final report was approved by the JA Board of Directors at its meeting in July. The report was also discussed at this year’s JA Affiliate Leadership Conference. More information will also be provided to members on the JA Web site (www.jewelers.org) and in upcoming issues of the J Report, JA’s member newsletter.