Junior Achievement of Central Maryland is planning a move from Owings Mills to a new headquarters in Baltimore.
The nonprofit, which runs programming designed to educate K-12 students in areas like career readiness, personal finance and entrepreneurship, signed a lease with Merritt Properties on 28,800 square feet of space in a Landsdowne property off Washington Boulevard that Merritt dubbed the Beltway Business Park. It is planning to relocate 20 employees there this summer.
With the $2.8 million buildout of the new space, the organization plans to open an interactive learning center called the JA Youth Workforce and Innovation Center. The new HQ expects to serve 30,000 students and more than 5,000 community members and volunteers a year.
“This is a game-changer for our organization, our community, and for thousands of students in our region who deserve real-world experiences that prepare them for the future,” said Junior Achievement of Central Maryland President and CEO Jennifer Bodensiek in a statement, adding that the learning center will “enhance our visibility and impact more youth with experiential programming that fuels the workforce pipeline and ensures that area youth grow into career-ready, financially responsible, and entrepreneurially minded citizens.”
With design helmed by Clockwork Architecture + Design will include a new career center, as well as an “entrepreneurship cafe” where students can get a look at starting a business. It will also have a multi-use space that’s designed to foster partnerships among the community.
The organization said the move will also allow expansion of programming, including: JA BizTown, where fourth through sixth graders run a simulated economy. In another, called JA Finance Park, where middle schoolers take on the role of a consumer within a specific life scenario and are challenged to make wise budget decisions.
“Together with our JA partners, we are giving our education system and key industries the missing piece they need to build a solid foundation that helps Maryland’s economy grow and succeed into the future — and we are doing it at scale so every student has the opportunity to benefit from these experiences,” said Tom Sadowski, vice chancellor of economic development for the University System of Maryland and chair of Junior Achievement of Central Maryland’s board of directors.
Last school year, the programming served more than 13,000 students in Baltimore City schools and more than 8,000 in Baltimore County schools.
Funding for the expansion is being raised through a mix of corporate donations, state funding and foundation support, and the nonprofit is still seeking funding and program support. The lead project partners include Allegis Group, France-Merrick Foundation, Howard Bank, Marion I. & Henry J. Knott Foundation, M&T Bank, Stanley Black & Decker, State of Maryland, Truist Foundation, Transamerica and the T. Rowe Price Foundation.
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