SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – Local leaders gathered on Main Street in Springfield Wednesday to celebrate the groundbreaking of new career center from Junior Achievement of Western Massachusetts.

Junior Achievement of Western Massachusetts is a part of the world’s largest organization that is dedicated to educating students about workforce readiness, entrepreneurship, and financial literacy through experiential, hands-on programs, according to their website. Junior Achievement programs are offered at no cost to schools and community groups in Western Massachusetts and Vermont.

“It’s been at least a decade old dream to come to fruition. It’ll be a center now where students can come, they can spend the day, they can hear a career speaker. There will be a maker space where we’ll have 3D printers, glow forges, crickets they can actually make products,” said Jennifer Connolly, President of Junior Achievement of Western Massachusetts. She says its important for young people to be working in a modern environment that reflects the level of technology they’ll be seeing in the workforce.

This center will be a 21st-century place for people ages 13–25 to engage with Junior Achievement programs. The center will be open after school for students that are interested in pursuing their entrepreneurial interests by operating their own student company. The center will be available in the evenings to community organizations and local employers as a hub for learning and collaboration.

The center will include a:

  • Full Classroom
  • Manufacturing Room
  • Skills Assessment & Career Exploration Lab
  • Collaboration Zone

Mayor Sarno states, “I want to thank and applaud Junior Achievement President Jennifer Connolly, the Board of Directors, their dedicated staff and team, and all of the supporters and sponsors of this much-needed and important project to help support and provide a learning and nurturing environment for our students and young adults.  This new state-of-the-art Career Center will help serve our students and provide them the resources and programming needed to successfully explore career options and other educational opportunities in the region.”