Officials, Governor Celebrate Perdue Henson Junior Achievement Center

Officials, Governor Celebrate Perdue Henson Junior Achievement Center
Gov. Larry Hogan joined Junior Achievement representatives and local officials last Friday for a groundbreaking ceremony to celebrate the Perdue Henson Junior Achievement Center. Photo by Bethany Hooper

SALISBURY – Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan joined with community partners and local representatives last week to break ground on the new Perdue Henson Junior Achievement Center.

Last Friday, Junior Achievement (JA) of the Eastern Shore celebrated the construction of a new immersive learning facility in Salisbury with a groundbreaking ceremony.

Through its partnerships with The Franklin P. and Arthur W. Perdue Foundation, The Richard A. Henson Foundation, the Community Foundation of the Eastern Shore and local school systems and businesses, JA President and CEO Jayme Hayes said thousands of students will have the opportunity to engage in real-life simulations that teach financial literacy, work readiness and entrepreneurship.

“This will be an MOU, a partnership, with our schools, roping into the curriculum where students can come every single year,” she said. “From day one, 10,000 students.”

Last year, Junior Achievement announced a partnership with the Perdue and Henson foundations for the creation of the Perdue Henson Junior Achievement Center. In addition to an anonymous $1 million donation, the two organizations each pledged $1.25 million in matching donations toward a multi-million capital campaign to construct a 25,000-square-foot facility at the former Kmart shopping center off Route 50.

“This will be a true game-changer for the students on the shore, our community, and for thousands of students in our region who deserve real-world experiences that prepare them for the future,” Hayes in a statement, adding that the learning center will “enhance our ability to 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.”

The Perdue Henson Junior Achievement Center, which is slated to open in the fall of 2023, will house Junior Achievement’s capstone programs, Biztown and Finance Park, as well as a Career Center, JA reports. These capstone programs include an in-classroom curriculum that culminates in a real-life simulation to help students learn crucial life skills, while a mock city will provide students the opportunity to build a foundation upon which they can make intelligent financial decisions.


Executive Board Chair Mike Dunn and JA President/CEO Jayme Hayes are pictured receiving a governor’s citation from Gov. Larry Hogan. Photo by Bethany Hooper

In last week’s groundbreaking ceremony, Hayes recognized the foundations for their support in making the center a reality. She also recognized the local businesses that will participate in the center.

“What’s important here is that the storefronts you see behind me are sponsored by local businesses right here in our community on the Eastern Shore,” she said. “So each of those storefronts is $25,000 per year and helps to fund this entire experience for students from Caroline, Talbot, Dorchester, Wicomico, Somerset and Worcester counties.”

JA Executive Board Chair Mike Dunn also recognized the governor for committing $1 million in capital funding toward the project. Hogan, who presented a governor’s citation last Friday in celebration of the center, applauded the many partnerships that allowed the center to come to fruition.

“I want to thank both of you for your incredible leadership,” he told Hayes and Dunn. “And I want to thank the Perdue family, the Henson family and the Community Foundation and all of the local partners we had a chance to meet that are going to be supporting this, the school systems and your local elected officials who have done a great job. I’m so impressed with this facility.”

About The Author: Bethany Hooper

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Bethany Hooper has been with The Dispatch since 2016. She currently covers various general stories. Hooper graduated from Stephen Decatur High School in 2012 and the University of Maryland in 2016, where she completed double majors in journalism and economics.