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NCS, Junior Achievement of Central Ohio partner to bring JA BizTown and JA Finance Park to Licking County

NEWARK, OH — Newark City Schools (NCS) and Junior Achievement of Central Ohio (JA) have announced an agreement that will bring JA BizTown and JA Finance Park programs to Newark, benefiting students from NCS and nearby communities.

In collaboration with NCS, the Licking Regional Education Service Center (ESC), local volunteers, and donors, JA’s engaging programming will be made available to students in Licking County and surrounding areas at JA's new Learning Center. Junior Achievement's two most popular programs, JA BizTown and JA Finance Park will be provided at the Learning Center, and their K-12 in-class programming will be offered in the surrounding areas.

“We are extremely excited to be dramatically expanding our engagement in Licking County and the surrounding region,” said Mike Davis, President of JA of Central Ohio. “Our relationship with Newark City Schools marks a significant milestone as we will engage thousands of additional students annually.”

The district and JA are finalizing a lease for about 17,000 square feet in the former State Farm Building, 1440 Granville Road, to JA, after the NCS Board of Education approved a Non-binding Letter of Intent during its October 16, 2023, board meeting. The lease agreement will last for 10 years, with the option for two additional 10-year renewals. Additional details will be provided for in the lease that will be finalized before the end of 2023.

“We are excited for the partnership with Junior Achievement, which will provide educational opportunities for NCS students, as well as others across the region,” NCS Superintendent David Lewis said. “The programming will complement our new Workforce Development program and efforts to increase opportunities for our students.”

Junior Achievement fits with the theme of what NCS is trying to achieve with the former State Farm building, Lewis said. JA fits alongside the digital school, preschool and staff professional development center.

“We were looking for a diverse range of partnerships that will benefit our students and community,” Lewis said. “Junior Achievement is a natural fit for the building, which is turning into a true community education center.”

The Licking Regional Educational Service Center has also been an important partner in helping to bring the JA Learning Center to the county.

“Our area’s children will greatly benefit from the immersion experience provided by these quality programs helping children discover their interests and develop their leadership skills,” Licking Regional ESC Superintendent Dale Lewellen said.

JA BizTown combines classroom learning with a day in a simulated town at their learning center, teaching financial literacy and work readiness. Fifth-grade students become employees, manage businesses, handle finances, and even participate in a mayoral election.

JA Finance Park, designed for middle school students, builds on this foundation by teaching personal financial planning and career exploration through a curriculum and simulation. Students practice what they've learned by developing personal budgets during their immersive visit to JA Finance Park.

The Licking County business community is also excited about the opportunities this partnership will provide for local children and the awareness it will bring to area businesses.

“Our business community understands the importance of career exploration and workforce development at an early age,” said Jennifer McDonald, President of the Licking County Chamber of Commerce. “The opportunity to partner with Junior Achievement’s JA BizTown and JA Finance Park locally is exciting and will not only provide awareness of local career opportunities, but build a pipeline of talent for years to come.”

About JA Central Ohio:
Junior Achievement (JA) has over 100 local JA Areas across the U.S. and is the nation's largest organization dedicated to inspiring and preparing young people to succeed in their lives and careers. JA offers programs about work readiness, entrepreneurship, and financial literacy that build on each other over multiple grades (K-12) to prepare students for post-secondary education or work in the real world.

Media Contact:
Seth Roy
Communication Coordinator


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