The Vision

Junior Achievement of the Eastern Shore (JAES) is bringing an innovative, life changing, new facility to Delmarva. It's called The Perdue Henson Junior Achievement Center, and it will change forever how the JA curriculum is delivered to students on the Eastern Shore who currently enjoy JA in the classroom.

Imagine a gleaming new structure, a place where students get to be an adult for a day, learning the basics of financial literacy; a place where a hands-on, interactive, state-of-the-art student experience awaits; a place where, once the student leaves, they'll have an invaluable understanding of how to manage the day-to-day finances so necessary to be successful in life. Imagine a high-tech, practical place to prepare for the world of work and engage with the business community to develop the most desirable skills needed for employment.

Across the country, there are 58 cities, like Atlanta, Washington, Prince George's County, Montgomery County, Baltimore, and Wilmington – to name a few – where facilities like the one we envision building here exist. They house either a JA Finance Park, a JA BizTown, or both – all under one roof. Click here to see one of these 58 facilities.

The state of Maryland currently has 4 JA Finance Park/BizTown facilities (none on the Eastern Shore); Virginia has 2; and Delaware has 1. Given the extensive travel time required to get to any of these facilities, the 50,000+ students on the Eastern Shore have little chance of attending them. It's simply too costly, and too time consuming for them to attend.


Currently, JAES teaches its curriculum in six counties on Maryland’s Eastern Shore: Wicomico, Worcester, Somerset, Dorchester, Talbot and Caroline, and now Accomack County, VA teaching more than 13,000 students annually.

Some of these counties are among the poorest in Maryland. Providing students with financial literacy, work readiness, and entrepreneurship skills increases the students’ chance of future financial success. One of the most successful ways to increase student participation and provide consistent exposure to JA is through experiential learning. And that’s exactly what the Junior Achievement Center will provide.

When built, The Perdue Henson Junior Achievement Center will offer instructional opportunities that will bring students through the facility three-four times over their K-12 education. Think about it: three-four times to see, touch, feel and own the life lessons that JA Finance Park/JA BizTown provide. It is important to note that the sustainability of facilities across the country are succeeding in the following ways:

  1. Student Participation/Partnership with the schools. The memorandum of understanding (MOU) that will be signed with each participating school system would commit that school system to sending students to the Junior Achievement Center each year. A true partnership.
  2. Financially - the spaces within the facilities would be leased to area businesses for 3-5 years. That’s each space/storefront leased EVERY year to area businesses.

Experiential Learning

Experiential Learning is an intense hands-on approach to real world living. This approach takes learning out of a textbook and into the real world. Students develop and practice skills necessary for career success; how to earn money and effectively manage it; and how to start their own business – all skills that strengthen our community and provides jobs.

The new Perdue Henson Junior Achievement Center will house three premier, hands-on learning opportunities: JA BizTown, JA Finance Park, and a JA Career Center uniquely designed for high school students to build skills to promote a better, stronger workforce, an entrepreneurial thinking workforce and a more fiscally responsible community. The goal is to enhance our classroom work into real life applications and engage with students at least three-four times throughout their schooling.

This facility will engage an addition 10,000 students from all over the Shore above and beyond our current 13,000 students. While a visit to the building will be a memorable experience for our Eastern Shore students, having it here will also be a benefit for local businesses and industries as better prepared, more skilled talent enters the workforce.

The Programs

JA BizTown®

JA BizTown is a fully interactive, simulated, free-market facility where students in 5th Grade become business leaders, consumers, and employees for a day. Prepared through 13 in-school lessons of JA curriculum, students work in one of 18 JA BizTown enterprises such as banking, city services, insurance; learning what it takes to run a successful business, manage personnel and business finances, and work as a team. Through active participation in the JA BizTown simulation, students develop a strong understanding of the relationship between what they learn in school and their successful participation in a global economy. To provide promotional opportunities and create a recurring revenue stream, JA will lease these spaces to local businesses from right here on the shore.

JA Finance Park®

JA Finance Park teaches middle and high school students about personal finance and career exploration through 13 lessons of in-classroom instruction culminating in a day-long simulation at the facility. Students apply learned concepts in a real-life setting, receiving a "life scenario" which includes a family, job/income, and other pertinent factors. Students visit businesses to gather information for making personal financial decisions for bank services, housing, transportation, furnishings, food, health care, and other expenses. Other decisions include post-secondary education, investing, and charitable-giving. Budgets must be balanced. Throughout the process, students have the opportunity to identify personal interests, skills, work preferences and values that will help them identify future, real life career interests. To provide promotional opportunities and create a recurring revenue stream, JA will lease these spaces to local businesses from right here on the shore.

JA Finance Park® Advanced

JA Finance Park - Advanced is the High School version honing in on career interests and allowing students to create their life situation versus version one where they are handed a life situation.

JA Career Center

High School students will engage in a 3rd component of the JA Center, customized to their pathway with a focus on career readiness:

Work Readiness: Career Exploration and Career Readiness Skills through:

  • JA Career Exploration Center - regional jobs, apprenticeships and internships in partnership with our Baltimore office
  • Leadership Lab
  • Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality company tours and trainings
  • Artificial Intelligence


  • Innovation Incubator

Advance Personal Finance:

  • Retirement Planning

The Impact

  • Increased Graduation Rates: JA helps students make the connection between what they learn in school and how it applies to their lives. The JA experience helps students better understand the importance of school as a means to becoming successful adults.
  • Increased Soft Skills: JA programs promote 21st Century Skills, such as critical thinking, innovation, collaboration, creativity, and communication, while helping students understand the importance of acquiring technical skills in math, science, coding, and composition.
  • Economic Growth: JA Alumni study shows that former JA students are 2 1⁄2 times more likely to be involved with starting a business than the general public. They also have a better understanding of how business works. Students have positive increases in knowledge of and attitudes toward business creation, increasing the likelihood of these students undertaking entrepreneurial activities as adults.
  • Increased Opportunities: By showcasing high demand careers, JA helps students appreciate the importance of higher education, whether it's a four-year degree or a technical certification.
  • Increased Social Mobility: Research has proven that household income impacts the social mobility of children within that household. Research shows that JA alumni have higher education attainment and median household income than the general U.S. population. When asked to consider their household financial situation growing up compared to now, there is a notable shift from lower income to middle and upper income.
  • Increased Confidence: The JA experience helps foster the self-belief and sense of purpose necessary for young people to overcome challenging circumstances. JA alumni who say the main impact of their JA experience was to foster "self-belief," the shift from lower to upper income is even more pronounced.
  • Increased Financial Stability: National Foundation for Credit Counseling, only 2 in 5 adults track their finances with a budget and 1 in 3 adults carry a credit card balance monthly, and nearly just as many have nothing saved for retirement. JA curriculum increases the financial capability of students; nearly 90 percent of JA Alumni are confident in managing their finances.

By educating our future, we are Inspired By Experience.