Junior Achievement of the Upper Midwest (JAUM) plans to sell its Maplewood headquarters to acquire and remodel for $16.7 million a new headquarters in St. Paul's centrally located Midway district.
"Our current facility doesn't allow us to grow," Gina Blayney, the organization's chief executive, said in an interview. "We're going to sell our current property of about 25,000 square feet to move into about 50,000 square feet.
"We chose Midway because we wanted to be in the urban center and on mass transit. So we're right between Minneapolis and St. Paul and on the light-rail line and bus lines."
Junior Achievement has been expanding its financial literacy, career-readiness and entrepreneurship programs that served 163,000 students in grades K-12 last year, thanks partly to nearly 10,000 business and education volunteers in Minnesota, North Dakota and western Wisconsin.
The building project will be covered by a $20 million capital campaign, $11 million-plus of which has been raised.
That includes a $4 million gift by retail industry entrepreneur Jim Hemak and his wife, Pat. Extra funds raised, including from the sale of the Maplewood facility, will go toward the Junior Achievement endowment fund and a building-maintenance reserve fund.
Junior Achievement purchased a building at 1745 University Av. W., a former factory that lately has housed a couple of small charter schools.
The capital campaign will enable JAUM to double the number of students served by its on-site experiential programs from 17,000 to 34,000.
The building will be called the "Junior Achievement James R. and Patricia Hemak Experiential Learning Center."
It will house offices and three learning labs: Junior Achievement's JA BizTown, JA Finance Park programs and the new JA Innovation Incubator, which Blayney said will be the first such JA program in the United States.
JA Biz Town is a simulated free-market facility where students in grades 4-6 become business leaders, consumers, workers and citizens for a day.
JA Finance Park teaches middle and high school students about personal finance and career exploration through 13 lessons of in-classroom instruction culminating in a daylong simulation.
JA Innovation Incubator will encourage high school students to cultivate their entrepreneurial interests and develop relationships, talents and skills to build self-confidence. Students will have access to state-of-the-art technology, including a digital business start-up platform, and the opportunity to learn from local entrepreneurs.
Junior Achievement, through integrated programs with schools, business competitions and mentoring, also works with educators and students to make the connection between academic work, training and career success.