Junior Achievement, Fayette schools announce plan for 'Biztown' to teach financial literacy

jwarren@herald-leader.comJune 23, 2014 

Junior Achievement of the Bluegrass wants to raise $3 million for a "hands-on" center where kids could start learning entrepreneurship and financial literacy as early as fifth grade.

No location for the JA BizTown/JA Finance Park has been picked. Fayette County Public Schools is evaluating its properties for a possible site, Superintendent Tom Shelton said.

The plan is to open the Junior Achievement town and park in fall 2016, officials said at an announcement Monday morning.

To help get the $3 million fund drive going, all 26 directors of Junior Achievement of the Bluegrass have made personal financial commitments, officials said.

The only other Junior Achievement Biztown in Kentucky is in Louisville.

According to plans outlined Monday by JA and school district officials, students in fifth and eighth grades would start learning business and finance concepts in classrooms at their home schools.

Then, they would visit JA BizTown/JA Finance Park, where they would experience simulated real-world situations in which classroom concepts would "come to life," organizers said.

The process is to help prepare students for the future, they said.

The Biztown finance park would be based in Fayette County, but officials said they hope other area school systems will join the effort by the time the park opens.

"This initiative will appeal to and be available to all students throughout Central Kentucky," Shelton said. "It correlates with state education standards and focuses on 21st-century job skills.

"We need to provide our students every tool we can to help them understand the effects of their decisions, and empower them to understand their individual roles in their own (lives) and their communities' economic success," Shelton said.

Jim Warren: (859) 231-3255.

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