By Tamas Mondovics
Junior Achievement (JA) is known by many through its education of millions of students across the United State and millions more worldwide each year.
JA programs give young people the knowledge and skills they need to own their economic success, plan for their future, and make smart academic and economic choices.
Most local families come in contact with the organization through its local programs such as JA BizTown, which currently offers a 5th grade curriculum under the direction of Junior Achievement of Tampa Bay.
Last year, Junior Achievement of Tampa Bay reached 98,662 students in the Tampa Bay area.
It is little surprise then that the organization has recently revealed its plans to construct a brand new Junior Achievement Finance Park.
According to Richard George, president of JA Tampa Bay, the new capstone facility is scheduled to open in early 2018.
With Phase I of the capital campaign nears its goal of $4.6 million and, following a ground breaking ceremony, JA officials are anticipating the start of construction by EWI Construction within the next few weeks.
“Junior Achievement Finance Park will be the most innovative and far-reaching program for youth financial education in Tampa Bay and will impact 8th grade students as they will learn to balance their home finances, their budget the cost of kids, health insurance, education and or entertainment just to name a few,” George said.
The new 18,000 sq. ft., state-of-the-art facility will be located on Hillsborough County Public School property, adjacent to the existing 16,000 sq. ft. Junior Achievement Center presented by the Bill Poe Family, which opened in 2005 and is the current home of JA BizTown, presented by Pam and Les Muma, sporting a 5th grade curriculum.
George confirmed that the original $1.7 million grant, to kick off the capital campaign came from the SunTrust Foundation.
JA programs’ success is credited to corporate and community volunteers, and to its relevant, hands-on experiences that give students from kindergarten through high school knowledge and skills in financial literacy, work readiness and entrepreneurship.