Understanding Business at the Perdue Henson Junior Achievement Center
Author: Ricky Pollitt
Published: Tuesday, 12 Jul 2022
At what age do students begin to understand the operations of a business?
The role of consumer becomes an integral part of their lives from an early age, whether that be shopping with a parent or purchasing their own goods and needs.
But what about the process – the relationship between consumers, business owners and employees. At what point does an understanding of a capitalist society determine which role a student sees themselves pursuing?
These questions can be answered through JA BizTown, one of the defining programs offered at the upcoming Perdue Henson Junior Achievement Center.
Housing over 10,000 students a year, the new facility aims to provide students with financial literacy, work readiness and entrepreneurship programs that will prepare them to navigate and succeed in a global economy.
JA BizTown is a fully interactive, simulated, free-market facility where students in 5th grade become business leaders, consumers and employees for a day.
Prepared through 13 in-school lessons of JA curriculum, students work in one of 18 JA BizTown enterprises such as banking, city services, insurance; learning what it takes to run a successful business, manage personnel and business finances, and work as a team.
To provide promotional opportunities and create a recurring revenue stream, JA will lease these spaces to local businesses from the Shore, showing students the opportunities that can be found right in their backyard.
When students walk into the Perdue Henson Junior Achievement Center, it will be as if they are transported to a miniature city. But rather than gleaming skyscrapers and national monuments that make up an expected city display, our youth will see recognizable businesses like TidalHealth, Pohanka and much more.
While the center will be run by trained volunteers that travel to the facility every day, students will use the knowledge and skills obtained through the in-school lessons and apply them to their roles in the city.
A student could be assigned the job of bank manager, taking charge of the operations, administration, security and other factors that help make a bank run smoothly. They could also become a car salesman, tasked with selling highly equipped, in-demand vehicles to their neighbors and friends.
One student could even make decisions for the entire city if they’re selected for the role of mayor. Along with the common responsibilities of creating budgets, hiring department heads and overseeing city operations, the mayor could plan ribbons cutting, conduct media interviews and preside over meetings and gatherings.
The ultimate goal is to give these students a thorough understanding of the responsibilities and duties for several jobs, so they may begin to decide how their career paths could potentially shape.
JA research shows by exposing them to real-world demands at an early age, students are more likely to feel confident when entering the workforce and have a better idea of how to overcome any obstacles that could come their way.
Through the work done at the Perdue Henson Junior Achievement Center, students on the Shore will be better prepared and equipped when entering the workforce.
And by familiarizing them with local businesses and organizations, strong, quality workers will remain in the area for years to come.