Junior Achievement of Wisconsin Launches First-Ever Virtual Business Simulations for Students

MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN – Imagine an online experience that allows elementary school students to become CEO of their own business.  Or an interactive lesson that shows students how businesses depend on marketing and sales to grow.  Or a simulation that allows students to understand the challenges of living within a family budget.  That’s exactly what happens in two new online simulation experiences from Junior Achievement of Wisconsin.  During the 2020-21 school year, students across Wisconsin will be able to participate in two new premier programs, the new JA BizTown Adventures® and JA Virtual Finance Park®.

JA BizTown Adventures is a culminating experience for 4th through 6th grade students that have completed the JA BizTown self-guided curriculum. Students use the “choose your own adventure” simulation to learn how to run a business as they take on the roles of chief executive officer, chief financial officer, marketing director, sales manager, and consumer via five online adventures. The self-guided curriculum allows students to practice problem solving, decision making and critical thinking skills, all while they weigh saving and spending choices, consider risk management and insurance strategies, and make personal and business-related financial decisions.

Middle and high school students complete the JA Finance Park online self-guided curriculum and are assigned a random life scenario with a specific career, education, family characteristics, credit score and student debt.  These factors impact their decision making as students set up saving and spending plans.  Students research, shop, and pay for various life category purchases and make other financial decisions across multiple life stages.  JA Finance Park Virtual is designed to help students understand the ramifications of financial decisions related to income, expenses, savings, and credit.

The William S Knight Foundation, of Brodhead, Wisconsin, has provided a $50,000 grant to help Wisconsin schools bring the JA BizTown Adventures and JA Finance Park Virtual programs to their students.  The grant will offset student fees for the 2020-21 school year and allow up to 7,000 elementary students outside of the Metro Milwaukee area to participate at no charge.

“The JA BizTown Adventures and JA Finance Park Virtual online simulations were developed in response to many years of sold out conditions in our physical simulation labs in Milwaukee and Appleton.  Virtual options mean that schools all over the state can now participate without incurring bus rental fees. These virtual programs provide our education partners with curriculum that effectively integrates financial literacy and career readiness into online learning resources,” said Michael Frohna, President of Junior Achievement of Wisconsin.  Frohna added, “We are extremely grateful to the William S. Knight Foundation for their support to bring this engaging and interactive program to students across Wisconsin.”

The JA Biztown adventures and JA Finance Park virtual programs are available for any public, private, parochial or home school, as well as other youth serving organizations. For more information, educators can contact Brooke Tabbert (btabbert@jawis.org) or go to https://wisconsin.ja.org to reach the Junior Achievement office near them.  Classroom students will be registered on a first come, first served basis.

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