Revisions to JA Finance Park include focus on use of technology in personal finance
Colorado Springs, Colo. Junior Achievement USA (JA) has received a $1.75 million gift from the KPMG Foundation to redevelop its successful JA Finance Park® middle school financial literacy curriculum. The grant will be used to revise, design, promote and evaluate the new JA Finance Park, with a goal of more strongly infusing 21st-century learning concepts and techniques. The grant will also support the revision of the simulation technology that will foster student understanding of personal budget and smart money-management practices.
The gift was announced by Junior Achievement USA Chairman Larry Leva, KPMG's Global Vice Chair of Quality and Risk Management, at a recent Junior Achievement USA board of directors meeting in Washington, D.C.
Leva noted, "KPMG is proud to team with Junior Achievement to support our youth and the future of our country. Developing the financial literacy, entrepreneurial and critical thinking skills of our young people is imperative in today's rapidly changing business environment. KPMG's gift to support JA Finance Park is an investment in our country's future. The program promises to have a real impact on the students, fostering collaboration, effective communication, and responsibility at a critical stage in their education, skills that will prepare them well for the workplace." In JA Finance Park, middle school students participate in a four-week personal finance curriculum delivered by their teacher. They then travel to a JA Finance Park location where their new money-management skills are put to the test. The students are assigned a fictional life situation, including job, salary and marital status and must create, use and balance a budget. Students are mentored throughout the experience by volunteers from the local business community. JA Finance Park currently impacts 156, 000 students across the nation each year.
In redeveloping JA Finance Park, its existing financial literacy and career-readiness concepts will remain. However, Junior Achievement will transform the program so teachers and volunteers will lead students through an inside-out instead of an outside-in approach, focusing on the students centrally instead of the topic. For example, instead of studying financial institutions and what they do, students will learn about earning money and how they can utilize financial institutions to manage their money.
"We are thrilled to receive this gift on behalf of Junior Achievement's middle school students, " said Jack E. Kosakowski, president and chief executive officer of Junior Achievement USA. "It will help us more strongly infuse relevant and contemporary learning into JA Finance Park to empower young people to own their success in today's global economy."
The focus of JA Finance Park will continue to be on creating and maintaining a budget but a focus on careers will be more specifically integrated throughout the curriculum. Junior Achievement will focus on adding 21st century careers, especially as they relate to science, technology, engineering and math topics. The career focus is especially important to KPMG in its continuing effort to attract qualified candidates to careers in accounting.
The KPMG Foundation is a 501(c)(3) private foundation. The Foundation operates on donations from KPMG LLP, the U.S. audit, tax and advisory firm. For fiscal year 2012, KPMG donated over $6.2 million to the Foundation. Through the KPMG Foundation, the firm has spent over 40 years supporting and developing programs to enhance business education.