Dalton-area leaders celebrated the opening of the Junior Achievement (JA) Discovery Center of Greater Dalton on March 4, 2021. 

The center is the result of cooperation among educational and business partners aimed at targeting middle school students and guiding them through career options while providing foundations in business and personal finance.

"We know that young people in that middle school age better understand their own aptitude and interests," said John Hancock, president and CEO, JA of Georgia. "Dreaming or drifting, these programs are planned to help expose them to opportunities." 

One of just four JA Discovery Centers in the state, the Dalton location will expand Junior Achievement's offerings to more school systems in northwest Georgia, officials said.

Engineered Floors Chairman and CEO Mr. Bob Shaw has been a longtime proponent of local philanthropy and is proud to support the Junior Achievement Discovery Center.

"When you train them [kids] in a direction toward business, you are training them in a direction toward accomplishment," Shaw said. "We want them to be exposed to the opportunity that business and entrepreneurship provide. It's about having the right attitude."

The new 15,000-sq.-ft. facility is located on the new campus of Hammond Creek Middle School in Dalton, Georgia. The JA Discovery Center of Greater Dalton will expand access to programming to an additional 13 school districts offering 13,500 middle school students in Northwest Georgia the opportunity to experience their futures. The facility will also provide a unique economics lab where high school students will have the opportunity to participate in additional JA experiences.

At the ribbon cutting, local leaders honored Junior Achievement of Northwest Georgia Director Anna Adamson, who is Shaw's granddaughter. 

"A town built by entrepreneurs started the opportunity for a JA Discovery Center because their success put our small town on the map for its flooring industry," Adamson said. "It allowed for the dreams of its citizens to come true because of the generous resources these individuals have poured into our region, and we thrive because we have chosen to come together as one Dalton, Georgia.”

For more information, visit www.georgia.ja.org/ja-discovery-center-dalton.