Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed and Chick-fil-A President and CEO Dan Cathy were joined by local business leaders and educators Wednesday for the groundbreaking ceremony of Junior Achievement's Chick-fil-A Discovery Center.
Junior Achievement of Georgia and the Chick-fil-A Foundation teamed up to announce the financial literacy and readiness career center at the Georgia World Congress Center that will be used to serve the major Metro Atlanta school systems: Atlanta Public Schools, DeKalb County Schools and Fulton County Schools.
"My personal goal is to make dreams and work accessible for people in Council District 3, which is led by Ivory Young," Reed said. "It is important for young people to have a concrete path to success that they can see such as this; the earlier it happens in a young person's life, the more likely they are for it to take forward."
Key Atlanta based companies including SunTrust, Delta, UPS and Wells Fargo are also rallying around Junior Achievement to sponsor the state-of-the-art facility.
The event took place in Building C of the World Congress Center, where in seven months the entire mezzanine level will consist of two virtual cities, JA BizTown for sixth graders and JA Financial Park for seventh and eighth graders.
More than 30,000 students are expected to visit the Chick-fil-A Foundation Discovery Center to learn important life skills and real-life budgeting situations essential to succeed in today's growing global economy.
During a simulated fly-thru of the center's layout, Junior Achievement of Georgia President Jack Harris explained the experience of inspiring students to succeed in school and beyond.
"It's really long term," Harris said of the newly created center. "It's about creating a completely financially literate generation."
The center's experiential learning program will include a 160-seat auditorium and a "mini-city" of corporate partners of the center with store representations in Finance Park, which will be a virtual outlay of Atlanta.
Academically, the discovery center will be beyond an average field trip for students. Each student will be presented with 18 different scenarios on situations that occur outside the general classroom dealing with the realities of life such as how to manage a budget, learning how to create and deposit checks, and more.
Known as JA BizTowns and Financial Parks, the centers exist in more than 20 cities around the US.
The Junior Achievement Fellows programs are delivered by metropolitan corporate and community volunteers to provide hands-on experiences to students from kindergarten to high school.
One product of Junior Achievement who was on hand to speak at the ceremony was seventh grader Nicolas Delporte.
"It's a great opportunity," Delporte said. "I look forward to going to the Discovery Center when it opens. Junior Achievement has helped me a lot and I know it will help a lot of my friends and other middle schoolers."
The Discovery Center plans to open its doors on September 3.