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Junior Achievement expands in emerging Charlotte neighborhood

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Junior Achievement

For more than a decade, Junior Achievement of the Central Carolinas hosted business-oriented education programs for thousands of 4th-grade students in the basement of a downtown Charlotte office tower. Tryon Street’s dense traffic and limited building access made it an inconvenient spot. So when Sarah Cherne became CEO of the nonprofit six years ago, she committed to finding more usable, less expensive space.

Last week, the group unveiled its new 30,000-square-foot center in Charlotte’s Camp North End development, a change made possible because of $4.6 million raised in a continuing $6 million capital campaign. The title sponsor is Raleigh-based Paragon Bank, which was acquired last year by TowneBank of Portsmouth, Va. More than a dozen other companies have made donations and gained naming rights for rooms and open areas at the site.

JA has programs for kindergarten through high-school seniors to promote workforce readiness, entrepreneurship and financial literacy. The new space will enable visits by 10th-graders. While it’s a regional group serving much of central and western North Carolina, JA wants to be a key part of Charlotte’s effort to boost the fortunes of students from lower-income households, Cherne said at last week’s open house.

“We believe strongly that JACC’s programs and its new facility are the vehicle through which we will provide significant impact and access to opportunity,” says Phil Jurney, Paragon’s Charlotte market president.

The Camp North End campus, about a mile north of downtown Charlotte, is a 76-acre property where previous owners produced Model T cars and Hercules missiles for the military. The site sat empty for years, but developers Shorenstein Properties and ATCO Properties & Management have big plans to rehab the buildings for offices, shops and restaurants.

Junior Achievement also has North Carolina chapters based in the Triangle and Triad.

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