JA BizTown is Open for Bizness! - JA360: Viewpoints | Junior Achievement of Western Pennsylvania

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JA BizTown is Open for Bizness!

On January 28th, we welcomed nearly 200 friends and supporters of Junior Achievement of Western PA to the official ribbon cutting ceremony and grand opening celebration for JA BizTown®. 

The grand opening celebration began with remarks from Bill Flanagan, Chief Corporate Relations Officer at Allegheny Conference on Community Development; Dennis Davin, Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development Secretary; Jason Ortitay, PA State Representative, 46th District; Rich Fitzgerald, County Executive; Patrick Catena, County Council President and District 4 Representative; Gwen Rodi, President of the South Fayette Township Board of Commissioners; Matt Hansen, Principal at IKM; Sheryl Fleck, Principal at Claysville Elementary School; and Melvin Washington, Chairman of the Junior Achievement of Western PA Board of Directors and Chief Risk Officer at TriState Capital Bank.

Following the program and a ribbon cutting ceremony, approximately 79 fourth-grade students from Claysville Elementary School (McGuffey School District) in Washington County, PA became the first 'citizens' for a day at JA BizTown®. Their journey to JA BizTown® began in the classroom, where the students studied topics such as critical thinking, financial literacy, STEM skills, and career exploration over a period of 11 weeks.
“Claysville Elementary School has been involved with Junior Achievement of Western PA for 10 years, so integrating the JA BizTown® program into our curriculum was a natural next step. It has really excited our teachers and been an eye-opening experience for students,” said Sheryl Fleck, Principal at Claysville Elementary School. “It’s not every day you have the opportunity to expose students to new career opportunities, the job interview process and soft skills that will help them to succeed later in life.”

The program culminated with a four and a half hour simulation at JA BizTown®. The highlight of their visit was being assigned a job at one of 20 storefronts – 19 of which are sponsored – that represent the core industries that make our region’s economy one of the most diverse in the nation. From advanced manufacturing to healthcare and energy, to information technology and engineering, the students had a unique opportunity to explore several career possibilities at top regional businesses.

Storefront sponsors include #1 Cochran, ACE Hardware, ALCOSAN, ANSYS, Burns Scalo Real Estate, Calgon Carbon, Clearview Federal Credit Union, Comcast, Entercom (100.7 Star), FedEx Ground, Giant Eagle, Gordon Food Service, Highmark, Koppers, Mascaro Construction Company and Construction Building Trades, PPG, Sheetz, UPMC, and Vector Security.

JA BizTown® is the culmination of years of planning and millions of dollars in monetary and in-kind donations from the storefront sponsors, along with dozens of other regional businesses. Though there are 106 Junior Achievement area offices across the United States, Junior Achievement of Western PA’s mini-city is only the 39th JA BizTown® site in nation.
By the end of this school year, approximately 3,000 students in grades four through six from schools in the greater Pittsburgh, Erie and Johnstown/Altoona regions will benefit from the program and day-long visit to the 10,000 square foot mini-city. JA BizTown® aims to develop workforce readiness and prepare today’s young people for a success, fostering future leaders and entrepreneurs who will contribute to the health and vitality of western Pennsylvania.
Please help us share this wonderful learning experience with friends, colleagues and schools in your area. You can find pictures and other resources here, and be sure to check out media coverage from 90.5 WESA, ALCOAN, Clearview Federdal Credit Union, Comcast, KDKA-KidsBurgh, KDKA Radio, Pittsburgh Business Times, Pittsburgh Magazine, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Pittsburgh Today Live, PPG, Star 100.7, The Almanac, The Observer Reporter, Trib | Total Media, and Vector Security   
Want to learn more? Give us a call to set-up an appointment for your in-depth tour of the space at 412-208-4747.
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