COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — Goods being bought and sold. Inventory being taken. And budgets to manage. Just another busy day in JA Biztown.
“I do lots of interviews for a lot of people. I go around and take a lot of surveys. I talk to the Mayor and interview her. And I write a newsletter for Biztown so they can understand what’s going on,” said fifth grader Nora Newlin.
On this day, Newlin is working as the public relations director for City Hall in this mock city with mock businesses and employees. The money may be fake but the economic experience is real.
“It’s just like any other subject you’d learn in school, right? As young as kindergarten, you start reading and language arts. We believe at Junior Achievement that as often as possible, these skills sets need to be in a working environment, whatever that’s going to be. Financial prudence. Entrepreneurship. Problem-solving skills. All should be taught multiple times over K-12,” said Beth Tyburski, vice-president of development and communications for Junior Achievement of Central Ohio.
Thanks to the support of local companies like Donatos, the Columbus Blue Jackets and Battelle, as well as national brands like Meta and Google, these fifth graders’ eyes are being opened into how the real world works.
“Because they might not think that they’re good at math or that they’re afraid of technology to go work at Meta but they don’t understand there are all different types of career fields within one organization,” said Tyburksi, “and just because it’s a tech company doesn’t mean that they can’t do it.”
When I asked Newlin how much respect this gives her for adults who work these jobs every day, she didn’t hesitate to answer.
“A lot of respect. It’s really hard,” said Newlin. “Because we have a long checklist and then you have to walk around everywhere. Sometimes you have to ask questions of people but they’re too busy so I have so much respect for people who do this every day.”
With companies like Intel and Honda set to bring thousands of jobs to the Central Ohio region in the next decade, programs like this could be beneficial to preparing the business leaders of tomorrow.
JA Biztown is just one of the programs put on by Junior Achievement of Central Ohio. They run numerous other programs for students K-12 that focus on financial literacy, entrepreneurship and work readiness. For more information about Junior Achievement of Central Ohio, head to https://centralohio.ja.org/