The President’s Pen is a weekly blog written by Jonathan Smith, New Vision’s President and CEO about local economic development projects and initiatives. It also covers economic trends, workforce issues, business climate policies, and manufacturing news.
A big crowd was on hand this week as Junior Achievement (JA) broke ground on a new educational facility in Yakima. JA is a nationally based nonprofit organization that provides a series of business, economics and life-skills programs to enhance the education of young people. I recently volunteered for Junior Achievement at St. Paul's Cathedral school in Yakima. After spending several stints with first graders I can testify that this is a great program that will make a big difference for kids in Central Washington. The program is relevant, hands-on, and most importantly fun for the students. JA programs are offered in every grade from kindergarten through high school and the program helps students gain an understanding of entrepreneurship and free enterprise as they advance through school.
The new JA World facility in Yakima compliments their existing center in Auburn. When completed the Yakima facility will support schools and student learning throughout Central Washington . JA World contains a mini city with public and private businesses. Each business within the center is sponsored by a real local business and displays the authentic logo and the actual marketplace appearance of the sponsor bringing the Village to life for the students. Before visiting JA World, students complete a pre-visit curriculum program where they learn basic economic principles such as how to manage their personal bank account. They also participate in job interviews, learn about their new workplace and the job they will perform. Jobs range from retail sales professionals, accountants, business managers, medical professionals to TV and newspaper reporters.
A special thanks goes to the Temple family here in Yakima. Pat and Brig Temple donated the land for the facility and helped bring this tremendous project to fruition.