This past Tuesday, January 27, 2015 JA BizTown opened its doors for the first time in Jamaica.
GB Energy – Texaco, eager to be part of such a historic and noble cause, jumped on board with Junior Achievement by sponsoring a BizTown booth.
Junior Achievement (JA) is the world’s largest organization dedicated to educating students about workforce readiness, entrepreneurship and financial literacy through experiential, hands-on programs.
JA Jamaica programs help prepare young ones for the real world in a four-week learning experience by showing them how to generate and effectively manage wealth, create jobs which make their society more robust and apply entrepreneurial thinking to the workplace. Students put these lessons into action and learn the value of contributing to their communities by harnessing daily life skills, good values and positive attitudes. Most notably, the program focused on developing a healthy work ethic.
Akilah Wilson, a grade five student of Holy Rosary Primary, indicated that she has learned how to open a savings account. She has also learned what it takes to be an adult: “You have to work hard to get paid,” said Wilson, who worked as a bank teller. Her sentiments were echoed by her schoolmate, Deidreann Wright, who said she now has firsthand experience of how hard her parents work.
The Junior Achievement BizTown’s curriculum can be paired with that of grade five classes with a one-day visit to BizTown at the Caenwood Centre in Kingston, where students fill posts for which they applied.
Grade five teacher Sharon Clarke mentioned “students apply for jobs that they have the skills for. The students who are good in math opt for the CFO posts and the talkative bunch chose to work as marketing managers or TV hosts.”
Students arrive for work at 8:00 am and head to their respective places of work to obtain their duties for the day as well as a scenario card that outlines a task. Before the daily duties begin, all gather at a Town Hall meeting convened by the BizTown Mayor, who allows representatives from each job post to speak about the products and services they offer.
When young “employees” go on break, they then become consumers at BizTown and get the opportunity to go to the various booths to conduct their businesses. They can either go to the bank to deposit the money they have earned, pay their bills, go to the tuck shop to purchase their meals or fill up their tanks with Texaco fuel for the journey back home.
The JA BizTown program endorsed by the Ministry of Education, is the first of its kind outside of the United States open Monday, Tuesday and Friday.
We cannot stress how important this program is and how absolutely proud we are to be part of this grand effort.