MILWAUKEE – 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 programs, JA BizTown Adventures and JA Virtual Finance Park.

JA BizTown Adventures is a culminating experience for fourth- through sixth-grade students who 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 CEO, CFO, 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.

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.

The William S. Knight Foundation of Brodhead, Wisconsin, has provided a $50,000 grant to help Wisconsin schools bring the 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 to participate at no charge.

The 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 at btabbert@jawis.org or visit wisconsin.ja.org to reach the Junior Achievement office near them. Classroom students will be registered on a first come, first served basis.