The Junior Achievement James R. and Patricia Hemak Experiential Learning Center will house three premier learning labs: our existing experiential programs – JA BizTown and JA Finance Park – and the first-of-its-kind JA Innovation Incubator.
JA BizTown is a fully interactive simulated free-market facility where students in grades 4-6 become business leaders, consumers, workers, and citizens for a day. Prepared through 13 lessons of in-school JA curriculum, students work in one of 18 JA BizTown enterprises, learning what it takes to run a successful business, manage personal and business finances, and work as a team. Through active participation in the JA BizTown simulation, students develop a strong understanding of the relationship between what they learn in school and their successful participation in a global economy.
JA Finance Park teaches middle and high school students about personal finance and career exploration through 13 lessons of in-classroom instruction culminating in a day-long simulation. Students apply learned concepts in a real-life setting, experiencing family and income scenarios and visiting businesses to gather information for their personal financial decision-making. They use bank services, purchase housing, transportation, furnishings, food, health care, and other expenses. They make post-secondary education, investment and charitable-giving decisions and work to balance their budgets. They also identify personal interests, skills, work preferences and values to help them identify career interests.
JA Innovation Incubator will encourage high school students to cultivate their entrepreneurial interests and develop relationships, talents and skills to build self-confidence. The JA Innovation Incubator will be the first Junior Achievement high school business incubator of its kind that utilizes technology to innovate and incubate companies. This facility will be designed for students of all backgrounds, including young people seeking after-school programs and immigrants who are twice as likely to start new businesses as the general population.