READING, Pa. -

Junior Achievement of Berks County and Lehigh Valley is going out of business April 30.

The "extremely difficult but necessary" decision to cease operations has been made by the organization's board of directors.

"Unfortunately, we find ourselves in the same position as other non-profit and for-profit organizations that have had to make similar choices due to the challenging economic environment.," said Tom Minick, board chairman, in a statement.

"Junior Achievement USA is in contact with neighboring Junior Achievement offices about acquiring our territory to serve the young people of Berks County and Lehigh Valley."

He said: "Junior Achievement of Berks County & Lehigh Valley has been proud to serve local youth for over 50 years."

Elaborating, Minick said his organization served more than 7,500 students a year.

"JA, like other non-profits, are able to provide programming with generous contributions from individuals and corporations," he explained. "Over the past few years, those contributions had slowed."

Late Tuesday afternoon,the board chairman was not able to quantify the financial problem that is forcing his organization to cease operations.

Junior Achievement's programs focus on teaching young people concepts relating to entrepreneurship, financial literacy and work readiness.

"JA’s unique approach allows volunteers from the local business community to deliver our curriculum while sharing their experiences with students," explained  Minick.

"Embodying the heart of JA, our classroom volunteers transform the key concepts of our lessons into a message that inspires and empowers students to believe in themselves," he said.

"We will work with our supporters to ensure that the intent behind their generous donations is honored."

Minick thanked supporters "for helping us reach thousands of students with financial literacy, entrepreneurship, and work-readiness education. Because of your support, our young people will be better positioned to thrive and succeed in the world they will inherit."

The organization has offices at 601 Penn St. in Reading and at 1150 Glenlivet Drive in Upper Macungie, Lehigh County.