Carmel Education Foundation initiative expands student access to JA BizTown


All Carmel Clay Schools fifth-graders will have the opportunity to visit JA Biztown for the next three years thanks to a new initiative by the Carmel Education Foundation.

At JA BizTown, presented by Junior Achievement of Central Indiana, students interact with 15 businesses in a simulated city to learn about governance, banking, health, utilities, industry, entertainment and more.

Previously, only half of CCS fifth-graders visited JA BizTown each year because of financial limitations, but CEF’s new ACHIEVE initiative will open the experience to all.

“This is why we are here, to connect our students with opportunities from our community so that everyone benefits and we go further together,” CEF President Dallas Shelby stated in a press release.

The ACHIEVE initiative is funded through CEF’s Ghosts and Goblins 5K/2K race held annually in October, the Taste of Carmel event in March and investments from community partners. In addition to expanding access to JA BizTown, the initiative will also send CCS eighth-graders to JA JobSpark, a career exploration fair, and allow CCS high school students to participate in the JA 4E Fair, which provides information about options after graduation, such as college, employment, enlistment and more.

“Being able to integrate Junior Achievement curriculum that meets our state standards in multiple areas is an essential part of this endeavor,” stated Amy Dudley, CCS assistant superintendent of curriculum, instruction and assessment. “Most importantly, providing the opportunity for more than 1,500 students to be fully engaged in both JA BizTown and JA JobSpark in 2022-2023 elevates the learning opportunities for our students, further preparing them for their own future success.”

CIC COM 0913 CEF BizTown Jennifer Burk

Jennifer Burk, president and CEO of Junior Achievement of Central Indiana, worked with Dudley and CEF Executive Director Jennifer Penix to develop the ACHIEVE initiative.

“Creating this opportunity for Carmel Clay students to engage with Junior Achievement in elementary, middle and high school allows them to experience the full continuum of the rich history of success of JA programs,” Burk stated. “We aim to inspire each individual to find a career path that best aligns with their skills and interests, and we know that these young people are the future of our cities, state and nation.”

Businesses interested in supporting the ACHIEVE initiative through financial investment or volunteers may contact Penix at [email protected].