JA Launches Education Program for Retail Jewelers

September 21, 2006

JA Launches Education Program for Retail Jewelers

Jewelers of America has launched J-Biz, an education initiative for the jewelry industry that promises "meaningful education programs" to JA members.

Developed by a task force of members and staff over the past 14 months, the program will strive to cover new ground in industry education.

JA President and CEO Matthew Runci announced today that the association's executive committee has approved a plan to fund the development of the education program in the coming years. "Clearly, the future success of retail jewelers is tied to education — for both store owners and their staffs," Runci says. "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."

JA plans to offer multiple delivery methods for the education programs: in-person, online or at home/in store, to accommodate different learning styles.

According to Runci, JA will work with others in the industry to provide quality content. "We don't want to duplicate what already exists," he says. "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 J-Biz Task Force is comprised of: Robert La Perla, of La Perla Limited, West Hartford, CT (Connecticut Jewelers Assn.); Robert Marks, of Rogers Jewelry, Modesto, CA (California Jewelers Assn.); Artie Bennos, of Simms II Jewelers, Winchester, MA (JA Board of Directors); JA Treasurer Michael White, of White's Jewelers, Springfield, TN; Bill Blair, executive director of Missouri Jewelers and Watchmakers Assn.; Sandy Brown, executive director of New England Jewelers Assn; JA Director of Education David Peters; and JA Vice President David Lafleur. Robert Leaver, of New Commons, Providence, RI, was the facilitator for the Task Force's work.

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