ASU partners with unique program to teach kids about finances and careers

A nonprofit is partnering with Arizona State University to create a "tiny town" where students learn how to operate and run businesses.
Published: Sep. 20, 2023 at 7:04 PM MST
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PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) — Arizona State University is partnering up with Junior Achievement of Arizona to help teach kids about career development and financial literacy. Biztown, a program offered by JAAZ, allows kids to get real-life experiences through a simulated student-sized town. “Before students come on-site, they have about 14 hours of lessons that they learned in the classroom,” said Anne Landers, the chief operating officer for Junior Achievement of Arizona.

Students are assigned a job and run the small town all on their own for a day. “They come here. Their businesses take out a loan from the bank at the start of the day, and their job as a team is to pay back that loan and turn a profit,” Landers said.

Students also get to shop at other businesses in the town to learn how to budget. “They have to manage their time. They have to pay back their debt. They have to manage their personal finances because it’s going to tell them they have insufficient funds if they overspend,” Landers said.

Junior Achievement of Arizona prepares more than 17,000 fourth through sixth graders across Arizona. Now, in partnership with ASU students, they get the opportunity to take a look at their future careers and think about getting a higher education. ASU’s booth in Biztown features a time machine, and once students are done, they’re given a graduation cap and mock diploma. “It’s about access. It’s about opportunity. It’s about making sure that they see for themselves what is out there for them,” said Vanessa Ruiz, deputy vice president of Academic Enterprise Enrollment and executive director of Admission Services at ASU. For more information on Junior Achievement of Arizona, click/tap HERE.

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