RedCloud Attends JA BizTown – Teaching Young Students Hard Skills for Real Life

At RedCloud, we’re constantly seeking opportunities to support the local communities in which we work, and in particular to share our experience in the business world with the next generation. Through financial and in-kind support, our community program is solely dedicated to non-profit partners directly engaging young people though educational programs to build the real-world skills needed to succeed in and after their formal education.

To that end, our latest opportunity to support this mission was through our long-time partner Junior Achievement – better known as “JA”. Throughout the school year, our consultants have volunteered time at “JA Day”, taking over local elementary schools to help teach business and entrepreneurial skills to students, however this recent event was something quite different and unique.

Our managing partner Brett Alston recently participated as a volunteer during JA BizTown – a day long, hands-on educational lesson during which 90 4th graders from a local school live and work in a fully functioning marketplace, sponsored by local businesses displaying their authentic logos, bringing this mini-city to life for the students.

Some of the more than 20 local businesses represented in BizTown include BECU, Chick-fil-A, Delta Dental of Washington, Seattle Mariners, Nordstrom, Puget Sound Business Journal, Q13 FOX, UPS, UW Medicine, Walmart, and Weyerhaeuser. A who’s who of local businesses, and a unique opportunity for local students, and for RedCloud, to help these young go-getters experience life in the real world.

Brett served as the volunteer in the merchandise store, where he provided guidance to the store’s student employees, including the CEO and CFO. This included everyting from assisting with payroll input, accounts payables and receivables, cutting and signing paychecks, and more. The day included three work shits, during which students would venture out into the city to put the money they earned to work in the town’s economy.

Over the course of the day, these 4th grade students conducted job interviews, sold retail, were number crunching accountants, kept the population healthy as nurses and doctors, and reported on the town’s latest breaking news as TV and newspaper reporters. There was even a Mayor in City Hall who was voted into office by peers.

“What an inspiring day, I am so proud to have participated in BizTown. If it were up to me, every student in the state would experience this invaluable opportunity to learn the hard skills needed for real life,” said Brett. “These types of tangible, functional skills and tasks map directly back to educational outputs. We’re creating tomorrow’s entrepreneurs who can thrive because they have hold of the core functions of an economy. I can’t wait to come back with our RedCloud team!”

While the excitement and experience of the day was a treasure for Brett to see in person, the take-aways for these young business people is what really gets us excited. In fact before visiting JA BizTown, all of the students completed classroom curriculum where they learned basic economic principles such as free enterprise and business, how to make choices as a consumer, and how to manage their personal bank account. All amazing skills that will benefit them long into life, no matter where they end up.