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Junior Achievement to Build Region’s First “Discovery Center” for Area Students

April 25,2022, Warsaw, N.Y. –

Junior Achievement of Central Upstate New York (JACUNY) today formally announced plans to build a state-of- the art learning lab that will bring hands-on experiences to thousands of area students.

The 18,000 square foot facility, to be named “The Paychex Junior Achievement Discovery Center” in recognition of a naming sponsorship from Paychex, will be located in Kodak Center on West Ridge Road in Rochester.

The Paychex Junior Achievement Discovery Center will be an engaging student experience that will focus on developing work readiness skills, career awareness, financial self-sufficiency and entrepreneurial thinking.

“Five Star Bank is proud to support the Discovery Center and its goal to help youth learn important life skills,” said Five Star Bank President and CEO Martin K. Birmingham. “Here they will experience what it is like to be a consumer, employee and taxpayer. It is critical that we provide opportunities for financial literacy such as this, to help the children of today become part of our stronger and more successful community tomorrow.”

Two cumulative middle and high school programs – JA BizTown® and JA Finance Park® – will be run out of the facility. Both will contain 13 in-classroom lessons, followed by a day-long visit to the Paychex Junior Achievement Discovery Center. There, lessons learned will be put to the real-life test as the student becomes a citizen in a simulated “mini-city” that resembles real businesses and organizations in Rochester. The Center will house at least 16 different employer-sponsored storefronts to ensure economic and workforce relevance to our region. In JA BizTown®, 5th grade students will “interview” for jobs at the represented employers and perform various business tasks throughout the day. In turn, they will open bank accounts to deposit their Biz Town wages, make personal buying decisions and even elect a mayor of the simulated city.

Middle and high school students attending JA Finance Park® are given an adult life scenario, complete with a job, credit score, housing, family and financial obligations. Students then must make a series of personal financial decisions from the represented businesses that support the lifestyle they envision.

The Paychex Junior Achievement Discovery Center is to be based on a proven JA model that currently operates in over 30 U.S. cities, impacting more than 400,000 students. It will be the only program of its kind in New York State.

“Both programs offer a powerful experience that gives students an authentic and memorable way to practice being an adult in our economy, and provide the skills and confidence to become self-sufficient future citizens,” noted JACUNY President & CEO Patricia J. Leva. “They also provide youth at a formative age with the opportunity to explore the careers and jobs available in our region and the learn about the skills needed to create their success right here at home.”

Fundraising for the project is ongoing. JACUNY is in the final stages of a $3 million capital campaign to fund the construction and initial operations. The Center was also previously identified as a priority project by the Finger Lakes Regional Economic Development Council. Employed-sponsored storefronts include: Paychex, American Packaging Corporation, Career Start, CGI Digital, Ernst & Young, Five Star Bank, Kodak, LeChase Construction Services, LiDestri, Mark’s Pizzeria, Monro Inc. /August Family Foundation, Monroe Community College, MVP Health Care, SDN Insurance ( Affiliate of Five Star Bank), Skalny Entrepreneurial Incubator and St. John Fisher College.

The Paychex Junior Achievement Discovery Center is expected to open in Fall 2023. JACUNY anticipates serving 6,000 students in the first full year of operation, reaching 12,000 students annually at full capacity.

About Junior Achievement ® (JA)
Junior Achievement is the world's largest organization dedicated to giving young people the knowledge and skills they need to own their economic success, plan for their future, and make smart academic and economic choices. JA programs are delivered by corporate and community volunteers, and provide relevant, hands-on experiences that give students from kindergarten through high school knowledge and skills in financial literacy, work readiness, and entrepreneurship. Today, JA reaches more than 3 million students annually in 105 markets across the United States. Junior Achievement of Central Upstate New York (JACUNY) delivers programming to students in a 25-county region throughout Central and Update New York State. To learn more about JACUNY, visit