COLUMBIA COUNTY, GA. (WJBF)- Middle School students in the CSRA will soon be able to immerse themselves in financial literacy and personal finance education.

From five locations across the state, two new programs will come from the Junior Achievement of Georgia in one new Evans location. 

“It’s an incredible opportunity for our middle school students, we’re gonna give our sixth and seventh graders an opportunity to visit the JA discovery center,” Richmond County Superintendent Dr. Kenneth Bradshaw said.

Through this program, students will have the chance to indulge in a hands-on, realistic style of learning. 

“The students will be able to go through and talk to these people about their business and say that they wanna go buy a car, they’ll talk about buying that car and they’ll tell ‘em how much it costs and what the term charge as far as– to buy that car if they wanted to borrow money,” President of McKnight Construction Company Will McKnight said.

Thursday afternoon’s groundbreaking gave a peek into what things might look like once local contractors begin working. 

“So the students feel at home when they go into the center and they recognize the businesses that they’re interacting with. So, not only will it look like the businesses, but it’ll also look like the landmarks and things that they’re used to in the area,” Columbia County Superintendent Steven Flynt said.

The two new JA programs– JA BizTown and JA Finance Park will allow 6th and 7th grade students to dive deeper. 

“Many of our students don’t have that opportunity to really understand how money is spent and the cost that their parents pay for certain items. So, giving them a hands-on perspective of day-to-day household activities, I think it will be very beneficial to them,” Dr. Bradshaw said.

The $4.5 million dollar investment is not just in the building, but in the future lives of middle school students. 

“This shows children, or students at an early age, they might wanna go to college. They might not wanna go to college – but there a lot of different careers they can do as far as what they can earn and how they can make it work with whatever career they pick,” McKnight said.

Representatives with Junior Achievement are glad to get the ball rolling on this project.