Twenty high school students from Connecticut are in China for the first week in August, completing a year-long program that began when a delegation of Chinese students came to Connecticut last summer. The students from Mark T. Sheehan and Lyman Hall high schools in Wallingford are joining 20 Shanghai students for a week-long focus on topics including business leadership, ethics and entrepreneurship.

The first-in-the-nation Junior Achievement (JA) international exchange program, JA Global Connection, is aimed at helping students better understand each other's cultures, economies and global business in general. It is being made possible through the generous sponsorship and participation of United Technologies Corp (UTC).

The Chinese and American students, who worked together last summer, will reunite and advance their first-hand knowledge of business innovation, marketing and sustainability in the context of international collaboration across cultures.

The JA program will be based at Shanghai Fudan University, and will include field trips to leading business facilities, hands-on workshops led by individuals from academia and the business sector, and case studies and marketing scenarios. The Chinese and American students will work in collaborative teams and present their research, strategies and proposals throughout the week.

The JA Global Connection is organized by Junior Achievement China, based in Beijing, and Junior Achievement of Southwest New England, based in Hartford. UTC is the major corporate sponsor of this program, providing the company's perspective as a leading multinational corporation.

Student visits will include the U.S. Embassy in Beijing; and United Technologies' entities in Shanghai, such as Shanghai Pratt & Whitney Aircraft Engine Maintenance Company Limited, Otis Elevator Management (Shanghai) Co., Ltd., and Pratt & Whitney Management (Shanghai) Co., Ltd. In Beijing, they will also visit Tiananmen Square and the Great Wall. The students will end their trip with an excursion to Xi'an, where they will see the terra cotta warriors.

"By working together, the students from both countries will advance their understanding of the cultures and dynamics that fuel global marketplaces, and will be better prepared for the jobs and opportunities ahead," said Lou Golden, president of JA of Southwest New England. "We are delighted to collaborate in this innovative and dynamic student exchange program, and we are fortunate to have such great partners as JA China and UTC."

"As a long-standing partner with Junior Achievement, UTC is excited to continue this partnership and support the growth of this international program," said Jill Albertelli, vice president of procurement for UTC's Pratt & Whitney. "This innovative partnership builds on a commitment to developing the next generation of talent and we hope that this experience will encourage these students to pursue science and technology, and one day a career in those fields."

UTC and its employees have partnered with JA for decades as part of the company's long-standing commitment to supporting science, technology, engineering and mathematics education (STEM).