President Mark A. Roberts launched the Reinhardt University BizTown Storefront with a ribbon cutting at the Junior Achievement (JA) Discovery Center in Gwinnett County on Tuesday, Oct. 19. The opening of the storefront celebrates the continuation of a partnership between JA and Reinhardt that began two years ago with Reinhardt students volunteering as mentors at the Discovery Center.
John Hancock, CEO of Junior Achievement Georgia, shared in the experience, stating, “This ribbon cutting is commencing the physical space, but the partnership really has been in place for some time. The young people attending your university have just been so instrumental in the way of their volunteerism with our young people. This is an extension of a really, really great partnership.”
Reinhardt staff and members of the Board of Trustees also shared in the event.
“I am so excited about Reinhardt’s investment in our next generation through Junior Achievement in Gwinnett! It is a critical engagement in growing young students and immersing them into the deep relationships between education, business and community. It also exposes thousands to the awesome experiences that Reinhardt University offers. It is a win-win and I can’t wait to see where this important partnership goes,” shared Kevin Williams, a member of the University’s Board of Trustees.
BizTown houses familiar businesses like Chick-fil-A, Quick Tip, Wells Fargo and Home Depot – and now Reinhardt – that are set up as storefronts. The businesses represent different industries including entertainment, utilities, food service and education. Prior to visiting BizTown, students prepare through a series of classroom lessons in community and economy, financial literacy, work and career readiness, and business management. When students enter BizTown, they are given careers, financial profiles, and imaginary funds. Volunteers – like our Reinhardt students – guide them as they operate banks, manage restaurants, write checks, vote for the mayor, and make purchases. “In this work, we regard ourselves as the intersect of youth development, education development, and economic development,” said Hancock.
Michael McCord, a Reinhardt board member also present for the event added, “I am grateful for the way Reinhardt University continues to realize a mission that is larger than itself by discovering ways to make our communities better. Partnering with the Junior Achievement's Discovery Center provides an opportunity for the Reinhardt community of learners to share their experiences with future college students in a way that equips those students to be better and wiser citizens. This kind of collaborative and experiential approach to learning will surely leave a lasting impression on all those who share the experience.”
Reinhardt – the only University in Gwinnett’s BizTown – represents the education sector. In the Reinhardt storefront, students assume roles within a university, such as president, dean of students, and professor. As part of their immersion, they operate the institution with real work, like setting up payroll, creating marketing plans and holding strategy meetings. They also sell their products and, as consumers, make purchases from other company storefronts. Students can purchase Reinhardt University swag, from pop-sockets to keychains, and apply to Reinhardt at the simulated Admission House.
“Our vision is to widen the fields of endeavor for Reinhardt.” said President Roberts. “We want to make our very personalized and unique educational opportunities known and available throughout our region. Our presence in Biztown, and our deep and growing partnership with Junior Achievement, allows us to extend Reinhardt’s reach. Students who experience our storefront here in Gwinnett will glimpse into our academic programs, sports teams, concerts, theatre productions and student activities – and apply their learning with real-world simulations. Education at Reinhardt is very much the same, and we are very grateful to have found a like-minded partner in JA, who emulates Reinhardt’s own educational experience in building our future.
For more details, see the feature in Reinhardt Magazine.
Interested in learning more about JA BizTown and other JA programs? Visit https://www.georgia.ja.org/