Aquinas College is a proud Storefront Sponsor of the recently opened Karl & Susan Hascall Junior Achievement (JA) Finance Park®. Junior Achievement USA is the world’s largest organization dedicated to giving young people the knowledge and skills they need to own their own economic success, plan for their future, and make smart academic and economic choices.

The Karl and Susan Hascall Junior Achievement Finance Park® is located in the Huizenga Family Junior Achievement Free Enterprise Center in Grand Rapids alongside two other experiential learning labs. JA Finance Park® welcomes 8th-12th grade students for programs encouraging financial literacy that satisfy the half-credit personal finance requirement that all Michigan high school students will need to graduate. 

Crowd listens to speaker at JA Finance Park opening

Students will first spend twelve classroom sessions preparing for their visit. When the day of the visit arrives, they enter a gamified experience where they are assigned a random career and family situation. Students then manage a budget based on their persona’s income and financial wants and needs. They explore several storefronts, representing budget categories like banking, transportation, and groceries, sponsored by real businesses, while balancing their budgets and exploring careers that exist in Michigan.

The Aquinas College Storefront represents the higher education budget category and is the only college or university represented in the space. Students at the Aquinas Storefront will consider the advantages of pursuing higher education in their careers and imagine the possibilities for learning throughout their lives. They can choose to pursue a bachelor’s degree, earn a master’s degree, enroll in classes that will support their career development, or enjoy classes for the love of a subject, while considering how these pursuits fit into their budgets and goals.

Aquinas College storefront room, with Aquinas red walls and images from around campus. A table with several office chairs sit in the middle with a TV running on the right wall.

The storefront’s initial design was provided by Progressive AE with additional design work by Aquinas’ Creative Director Philip Mitri. Construction, painting, graphics application and signage installation were completed by Pioneer Construction. The space offers a glimpse into the real campus of Aquinas College with photography of the iconic Academic Building and woodland scenes from across campus on several walls. A TV screen will play video of student life at Aquinas and display recent news stories from around campus.

Aquinas College would like to thank Haworth for their generous donation of seating and tables which will serve thousands of students as they learn what higher education can provide for them.

Aquinas College is honored to be a part of inspiring, preparing, believing in, and equipping the leaders of tomorrow at the JA Finance Park®. We hope they leave empowered with the knowledge they will need to go on to lead full lives and build thriving communities.

President Cordoba Speaks at the podium before the ribbon cutting