Editorial: JA Discovery Center in Dalton will be a regional hub of learning

When Hammond Creek Middle School opens in 2021, students in the Dalton Public Schools system won't be the only ones educated there.

Thanks to a public-private partnership, the school campus will also be home to a Junior Achievement JA Discovery Center that will serve 13,000 middle school students each year in the northwestern region of the state. This will be the fourth JA Discovery Center in the state. Together, they will educate almost 100,000 students each year.

Junior Achievement of Northwest Georgia provides programs in financial literacy and entrepreneurship to thousands of area students.

The members of the Dalton Board of Education during their meeting Monday night approved the partnership. A private grant, along with funding from the school board, will pay for the building. The school board also gave the OK for the center to be built on the school campus. (For full details, please see our story on page 1A of Thursday's paper.)

The 18,000-square-foot JA Discovery Center will feature two programs that will help students learn more about business and personal finance. A press release from Junior Achievement describes those programs:

• "JA BizTown creates an unmatched experience where students are able to interact within a simulated economy and take on the challenge of fueling a business. Here, students not only discover the intricacies of being a professional and member of the community, but also realize the abundance of opportunities available within their city."

• "JA Finance Park provides students the rare opportunity to experience their personal financial futures firsthand. Guided by an assigned ‘life situation,’ students participate in an immersive simulation that enables them to develop skills to successfully navigate today’s complex economic environment and discover how decisions today can impact tomorrow."

The JA Discovery Center will be a tremendous complement to Junior Achievement's existing work in northwest Georgia, along with instruction from our many dedicated educators. These real-world lessons will enhance our students' knowledge of the business world and personal finance.

We look forward to the center's opening and the lessons that will be imparted to our youth.

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