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More than 90 Local Students to Live and Work in a Simulated City with JA of Oregon and SW Washington and AT&T

Program lets students see the relationship between what they learn in school and their successful participation in a global economy

Jan, 2018

Portland, OR— Junior Achievement (JA) of Oregon and SW Washington is bringing important financial literacy lessons to students in Gresham as part of a contribution from AT&T, through its signature philanthropic initiative AT&T Aspire. Fifth grade students at Highland Elementary will be assigned an AT&T mentor through the JA BizTown® program, which gives students a firsthand glimpse into the future by learning about the world of real life in a city.

JA BizTown® begins with several weeks in the classroom filled with hands-on activities that give students actual experience completing the skills they’ll need to be active and productive citizens. Students are exposed to 15 JA BizTown® shops where they operate banks, manage restaurants, write checks and even vote for mayor. The program culminates in a day-long visit to a fully-interactive simulated free market lab where students become adults for a day.

"I’m not sure I can stress just how important it is for students get a true look at what life will be like for them as they grow into adulthood," says Gina Huntington, Senior Director of Programs, "And not only that. It’s vital that they have role models – AT&T employees -- who to help them see that success is clearly within their grasp. The lessons they learn in the program prove they can look forward to a world of possibilities. I don’t think you can put a price on that."

During the 2017-2018 school year Junior Achievement and AT&T seek to impact more than 7,000 students nationwide. This could not be achieved without the support of AT&T mentors who connect with students to help them discover their passions and potential. This collaboration is part of AT&T Aspire, the company’s signature philanthropic initiative to promote student success in school and beyond.

"Serving as a volunteer for this program has been unbelievably rewarding," says Stephanie Robertson, Area Retail Sales Manager. "I can honestly say I get just as much from it as the students do because I realize what I’m helping them with is something they’ll truly use for the rest of their lives. I think they’ll remember our time together – I know I will." The collaboration between JA of Oregon and SW Washington and AT&T is a continuation of their joint commitment to providing supplemental learning experiences that help young people in the community develop the competence, confidence and character to make smart academic and economic decisions."

See what students and AT&T mentors who have completed JA BizTown® have to say about the program:

About Junior Achievement USA – Established in 1919, Junior Achievement is the world’s largest organization dedicated to inspiring and preparing young people to succeed in a global economy. Through a dedicated volunteer network, Junior Achievement provides in school and after school programs for students which focus on three key content areas: work readiness, entrepreneurship and financial literacy. Today, 120 individual area operations reach more than four million students served by operations in almost 120 countries worldwide.

Junior Achievement of Oregon and SW Washington is an affiliate of JA USA established in 1950. It partners with local K-12 schools and businesses to provide programs that will reach more than 45,000 students this school year. It is consistently recognized as a top performing JA operation in the nation.

About Philanthropy & Social Innovation at AT&T
AT&T is committed to advancing education, strengthening communities and improving lives. Through its community initiatives, AT&T has a long history of investing in projects that create learning opportunities; promote academic and economic achievement; or address community needs. AT&T Aspire is AT&T’s signature philanthropic initiative that drives innovation in education by bringing diverse resources to bear on the issue including funding, technology, employee volunteerism, and mentoring. Through Aspire, we’ve passed the $250 million mark on our plan to invest $350 million in education from 2008-2017.