Junior Achievement Opens State’s First “Discovery Center” for Area Students

Mar 19, 2024 8:30 AM ET
Collage of photo's of the “Discovery Center”
  • ROCHESTER, N.Y., March 19, 2024 /3BL/ - Junior Achievement of Central Upstate New York (JACUNY) held ribbon cutting ceremonies today to formally mark the opening of the Paychex Junior Achievement Discovery Center.

Located in Kodak Center on West Ridge Road in Rochester, N.Y., the 19,000-square-foot facility provides an immersive educational experience aimed at cultivating financial capability, work readiness skills, career awareness, and entrepreneurial thinking in youth. Construction was completed in late 2023, with the first students welcomed in January.

The ribbon-cutting ceremony, attended by corporate sponsors, donors, school district representatives and elected officials, featured remarks from Patricia Leva, president and CEO of Junior Achievement and John Gibson, president and CEO of Paychex, the Discovery Center’s naming rights sponsor. Also speaking were New York State Senator Jeremy Cooney, Sr. Vice President for Regional Economic Development at Empire State Development Vincent Esposito and Rochester Mayor Malik Evans.

The Center is the first of its kind in New York State. It is based on a proven JA program model that currently operates in over 40 U.S. cities, impacting more than 500,000 students annually.

Two cumulative middle and high school programs – JA BizTown® and JA Finance Park® (with an entry and advanced level) – are offered to participating youth. Both programs consist of 13 in-classroom lessons followed by a full-day visit to the Discovery Center, where students put their lessons to the test as they become employees and citizens in a simulated “mini-city” that resembles Rochester. Corporate and community volunteers guide students through the simulation and share insights drawn from their own life and professional experience.

Junior Achievement anticipates serving 4,000 students in the Discovery Center through June 2024, and 12,000 students annually when at full capacity.

“Support of organizations like Junior Achievement is central to our purpose at Paychex. We’re incredibly proud to be part of bringing the first Junior Achievement Discovery Center to New York State,” said John Gibson, Paychex president and CEO. “The thousands of students coming through the Paychex JA Discovery Center doors each year represent the future workforce. They will be developing the entrepreneurial leadership skills that could one day help them open their own business and contribute to building vibrant communities in Rochester and the Finger Lakes region.”

“The Discovery Center programs provide students with a memorable authentic experience to practice being an adult in our economy, fostering the skills and confidence for self-sufficiency,” stated Patricia J. Leva, president and CEO of Junior Achievement of Central Upstate New York. "Students acquire lifelong financial skills, develop an entrepreneurial mindset, explore the careers available in our region and learn about the skills needed for their individual success."

“We are grateful to the Paychex Charitable Foundation, Empire State Development and the Finger Lakes Regional Economic Development Council, Senator Jeremy Cooney, our storefront sponsors, and our many other donors for creating opportunity and prosperity for our young people and our community,” Leva added.

About Junior Achievement 
Junior Achievement (JA) 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. Junior Achievement of Central Upstate New York (JACUNY) delivers programming to students in a 25-county region throughout Central and Update New York State. The Paychex Junior Achievement Discovery Center in Rochester, NY is the first of its kind in New York State. To learn more, visit the Junior Achievement of Central Upstate New York website www.cuny.ja.org

About Paychex 
Paychex, Inc. (Nasdaq: PAYX) is an industry-leading HCM company delivering a full suite of technology and advisory services in human resources, employee benefit solutions, insurance, and payroll. The company serves approximately 740,000 customers in the U.S. and Europe and pays one out of every 12 American private sector employees. The more than 16,000 people at Paychex are committed to helping businesses succeed and building thriving communities where they work and live. To learn more, visit paychex.com.

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