Wells Fargo partners with JA of N.J. to teach real-world business skills to Paterson students

In an effort to recognize and raise awareness about National Financial Literacy Month, Junior Achievement of New Jersey welcomed volunteers from Wells Fargo on Thursday to teach real-world business and financial literacy skills to middle school students from the Paterson Charter School for Science and Technology at JANJ’s BizTown, an 8,000 square-foot simulated community within its Edison Educational Center.

JANJ’s BizTown, which is funded by the Wells Fargo Foundation and other corporate partners, is a hands-on learning program that teaches students how to run businesses, earn paychecks and create a successful economy. The program starts with teacher-led lessons in the classroom and culminates with a fully interactive, daylong visit to the mini-city.

After the BizTown program, students will not only be able to discuss the significance of citizen rights and responsibilities in a community, but develop money management skills through practical knowledge of financial concepts and banking practices.

Wells Fargo employees volunteered alongside JANJ leaders to help mentor and teach more than 150 PCSST students about building money management skills and economic concepts. Students participated in activities such as operating banks, managing restaurants, writing checks and voting for mayor.

“How fitting to arrange this event with Wells Fargo during the month of April — National Financial Literacy Month and National Volunteer Month,” James Horne Jr., CEO and president of JA of New Jersey, said. “JANJ is grateful for the robust support of Wells Fargo in our JA BizTown program. Volunteers play a vital role in connecting the dots between what children learn in school and how it’s applied in the real world. Coupled with their employees’ volunteerism, Wells Fargo is showing young people how to manage money, while introducing them to different financial tools.”

“Junior Achievement BizTown has awakened an interest in business and financial literacy in our PCSST students,” Amanda Ziem, a teacher at Paterson Charter School for Science and Technology, said. “It teaches them real-life employment skills, how hard work pays off and the value of a dollar. Our students love learning about how the economy works, and our parents appreciate the authentic knowledge about how our communities operate.”

“At Wells Fargo, we’re extremely proud to provide pathways that lead to future success,” Wanda Saez, lead community impact & sustainability specialist at Wells Fargo, said. “We’re thrilled to extend our longtime relationship with JANJ, which allows us to provide New Jersey students with access to experts who can share their experiences, provide opportunities for learning and, most importantly, help promote and amplify the next generation of leaders.”

The event aligns with Wells Fargo’s mission to focus its local philanthropic giving to address community issues such as financial health, housing affordability, small business growth and sustainability. In 2022, philanthropic giving totaled roughly $3.6 million for New Jersey in support of housing, small business, financial health, sustainability and more. Beyond philanthropy, Wells Fargo team members in New Jersey volunteered over 9,150 hours in 2022 to support nonprofits and causes important to them.