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Junior Achievement to Build Region’s First “Discovery Center” for Area Students

Rochester, N.Y. (March 2, 2022) – Junior Achievement of Central Upstate New York (JACUNY) today formally  announced  plans to build a state-of- the art learning lab that will bring hands-on experiences to thousands of area students.

The 18,000 square foot  facility, to be named “The Paychex Junior Achievement Discovery Center” in recognition of a naming sponsorship from Paychex,  will be located in Kodak Center on West Ridge Road in Rochester.

The Paychex Junior Achievement Discovery Center will be an engaging student experience that will focus on developing  work readiness skills, career awareness, financial self-sufficiency and entrepreneurial thinking.

At Paychex, we believe in creating a world where people are the most important part of every business. We know that happier, healthier, and engaged teams create better businesses – and strong, local businesses support vibrant communities. With a focus on career development, financial literacy, and entrepreneurship, the Junior Achievement’s Discovery Center fits perfectly with our vision of supporting communities and building a stronger, vibrant Rochester. On behalf of our employees, Paychex is proud to announce our commitment to serve as the naming sponsor of the Paychex Junior Achievement Discovery Center,” said Martin Mucci, Paychex chairman and CEO.

Two cumulative middle and high school programs – JA BizTown®and JA Finance Park® – will be run out of the facility. Both will contain 13 in-classroom lessons, followed by a day-long visit to the Paychex Junior Achievement Discovery Center.  There, lessons learned will be put to the real-life test as the student becomes a citizen in a simulated “mini-city” that resembles real businesses and organizations in Rochester. The Center will house at least 16 different employer-sponsored storefronts to ensure economic and workforce relevance to our region.

In JA BizTown®, 5th grade students will “interview” for jobs at the represented employers and perform various business tasks throughout the day.  In turn, they will open bank accounts to deposit their Biz Town wages, make personal buying decisions and even elect a mayor of the simulated city. 

Middle and high school students attending JA Finance Park ®are given an adult life scenario, complete with a job, credit score, housing, family and financial obligations.  Students then must make a series of personal financial decisions from the represented businesses that support the lifestyle they envision.

The Paychex Junior Achievement Discovery Center is to be based on a proven JA model that currently operates in over 30 U.S. cities, impacting more than 400,000 students. It will be the only program of its kind in New York State.

“Both programs offer a powerful experience that gives students an authentic and memorable way to practice being an adult in our economy, and provide the skills and confidence to become self-sufficient future citizens,” noted  JACUNY President & CEO Patricia J. Leva.  “They also provide youth at a formative age with the opportunity to explore the careers and jobs available in our region and the learn about the skills needed to create their success right here at home.”

Fundraising for the project is ongoing. JACUNY is in the final stages of a $3 million capital campaign to fund the construction and initial operations.  The Center was also previously identified as a priority project by the Finger Lakes Regional Economic Development Council.  Employed-sponsor storefronts include: Paychex, American Packaging Corporation, Career Start, CGI Digital, Ernst & Young, Five Star Bank, Kodak, LeChase Construction Services, LiDestri, Mark’s Pizzeria, Monro Inc. /August Family Foundation, Monroe Community College, MVP Health Care, SDN Insurance ( Affiliate of Five Star Bank), Skalny Entrepreneurial Incubator and St. John Fisher College.

The Paychex Junior Achievement Discovery Center is expected to open in Fall 2023. JACUNY anticipates serving 6,000 students in the first full year of operation, reaching 12,000 students annually at full capacity.

About Junior Achievement ® (JA)

Junior Achievement is the world's largest organization dedicated to giving young people the knowledge and skills they need to own their economic success, plan for their future, and make smart academic and economic choices. JA programs are delivered by corporate and community volunteers, and provide relevant, hands-on experiences that give students from kindergarten through high school knowledge and skills in financial literacy, work readiness, and entrepreneurship. Today, JA reaches more than 3 million students annually in 105 markets across the United States. Junior Achievement of Central Upstate New York (JACUNY) delivers programming to students in a 25-county region throughout Central and Update New York State. To learn more about JACUNY , visit

About Paychex
Paychex, Inc. (Nasdaq: PAYX) is a leading provider of integrated human capital management software solutions for human resources, payroll, benefits, and insurance services. By combining its innovative software-as-a-service technology and mobility platform with dedicated, personal service, Paychex empowers small- and medium-sized business owners to focus on the growth and management of their business. Backed by 50 years of industry expertise, Paychex served more than 710,000 payroll clients as of May 31, 2021 across more than 100 locations in the U.S. and Europe, and pays one out of every 12 American private sector employees. Learn more about Paychex by visiting and stay connected on Twitter and LinkedIn.


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