Rick Wells, News On 6
TULSA, Oklahoma -- How would you like to learn the basics of running a business before you finish fourth grade? Some Sand Springs fourth graders are on the way to being CEOs after a day at Junior Achievement BizTown.
Pratt Elementary fourth grader Deanna Whitney is, as she puts it, running all over BizTown signing checks and paying bills. She's the CEO of one of Biztown's companies.
"The hardest part is doing all the bills," Deanna said.
How many times have we all said that?
Biztown is a Junior Achievement project that provides students in grades four thru six an introduction into the world of work and basic finances. There are periodic staff meetings; they are like time outs for evaluation. The adult volunteer in each business can tell the student staff how they're doing.
"We had to teach the kids about writing checks, using debit cards," said Shelly Martin.
There are about three weeks of prep work in the classroom before the students even get to BizTown. Part of that time is spent interviewing for BizTown's job openings.
"There are three different job levels, anywhere from the CEO, to the manager of the shop to the finance director," said Brian Jackson.
Biztown has 100 percent full employment. They get paid, pay bills, buy sell and manage inventory. There is health insurance. Co-pays are a quarter - sweet!
This program of Junior Achievement has been operating here in Tulsa for eight years. Thousands of students participate each school year.
"I think it's a phenomenal teaching tool," Shelly Martin said.
The kids seem to like it too.
By the end of this school year, BizTown in Tulsa will have helped educate more than 10,000 fourth and fifth graders in business basics.