Starting Sept. 10, more than 30,000 middle-school students from Fulton County, Atlanta, DeKalb County and Marietta public schools are expected to visit each year.
The 50,000-square-foot facility, called Junior Achievement’s Chick-fil-A Foundation Discovery Center, provides a 360-degree educational experience beginning in the classroom and ending with a day at the interactive simulation venues JA BizTown and JA Finance Park.
The simulators teach students the importance of personal budgeting, career readiness and real-life adult responsibilities, represented by virtual storefronts.
“This is the next step in JA’s continued efforts to empower students to own their future economic success. With JA BizTown and JA Finance Park, Junior Achievement had a vision to develop a center that would bring education to life,” Jack Harris, nonprofit president, said in a statement. “In just 11 months, with the help of organizations like the Chick-fil-A Foundation, SunTrust and Delta, we were able to transform that vision into a reality.”
The nonprofit’s and the foundation’s commitment to financial literacy, career readiness and improving the graduation rate among local students drove the desire to build the center, nonprofit spokeswoman Barbara Ann Lutrell said in a statement.
“The cooperation among more than 50 businesses, foundations and local education systems laid the foundation for a transformative experience,” she said, “to equip future leaders with the knowledge, capacity and motivation to become financially independent and build a better future for themselves and their community.”
Rodney Bullard, vice president of community affairs for Chick-fil-A Inc. and executive director of its foundation, said in a statement the center builds on other company initiatives like its scholarship program.
“The unique partnership forged between area businesses and educators provides kids with a unique opportunity for mentorship and learning beyond their mandated curriculum,” he said. “It’s a perfect complement to the work we are doing for youth and education and demonstrates the old adage that it takes a village to raise a child.”