Exchange City® at Johnson & Wales University Opens for Business
Dignitaries, students celebrate with official ribbon cutting
PROVIDENCE, R.I. – May 4, 2007 – Cartographers can add a new city to the map of Rhode Island: Exchange City® now located on the campus of Johnson & Wales University. State officials, the First Lady, scores of excited middle school students from the Urban Collaborative Accelerated Program (UCAP) in Providence, and university officials celebrated the grand opening of Exchange City with a ribbon-cutting ceremony held on Thursday, May 3, 2007.
A real "working city," Exchange City includes a bank, city hall, radio station, retail stores, a newspaper office and more. An innovative, interactive educational and entrepreneurial project for middle and high school students, the City is where students come to put their classroom learning to the test. They take on roles as politicians, bankers, newspaper owners and other business leaders. All in a day's a work; these "city officials" must make payroll, pay rent, taxes and utilities, and take out and repay business loans.
About Exchange City
Experiencia,® Inc., headquartered in Chicago, Illinois is the creator and owner of Exchange City and the sister Immersive Learning® program EarthWorks®, a hands-on science program based on the same Immersive Learning model as Exchange City. Experiencia is leading the national expansion of Exchange City and has partnered with the Cody Foundation and Johnson & Wales University to bring Exchange City to Rhode Island’s middle school, high school and college students. In 2004, the Cody Foundation, a non-profit education foundation opened the first Exchange City in New England, Portsmouth, New Hampshire. There are 24 operating Exchange City programs nationally with more than 1,000,000 students having participated in the program.
Exchange City is recognized nationally for its innovative economics, government and civics programs that support a new vision of teaching and learning about American enterprise, entrepreneurism and government. Exchange City is both a hands-on learning lab site and a curriculum that is used in the classroom and in the home. It combines a seven-week classroom curriculum with a state-of-the art interactive government and free enterprise laboratory. The Exchange City experience helps students learn and apply rigorous academic standards in math, civics, social studies, language arts and technology in real-life roles as citizens of their very own mini-town.
"Inherent to the mission of Exchange City is creating an opportunity for young people to acquire the skills they will need for successful careers," Dr. Schneider stated. "Similarly, at Johnson & Wales University, we do that at the college level. We recognize the symbiotic relationship that our campus will share with Rhode Island’s first Exchange City and are proud to be their host site."
Celebrating the opening, and completing their seven-week classroom curriculum, the Urban Collaborative Accelerated Program (UCAP) is the first school to participate in the newly-constructed Exchange City. UCAP, located in Providence, is an independent public school, serving at-risk middle school students from Providence, Central Falls and Cranston.
Housed in history
With a program that promises to make Rhode Island's future bright, Exchange City lightens 20,000 square feet of the Paramount Building, one of the University's historical buildings whose previous incarnations reflect Rhode Island's own economic history. Over the past few years, the University has invested $8.5 million in renovations to the Paramount Building, including $800,000 for the pre-construction upgrades for Exchange City. A building as rich in history as it is in technology today, the Paramount Building once housed Kaiser Shipbuilders, New England’s center for the production of "Liberty" ships used during World War II. In the 60s, it housed Rhode Island's popular discount store, Atlantic Mills. Later, it was home to the Paramount Restaurant Supply Company. Today, it is home to the University’s world-famous Culinary Archives & Museum, a state-of-the-art culinary library, and many University administrative offices.
"Exchange City will have a profound and life-long impact on Rhode Island students who participate. They will have a real opportunity to develop real skills for real careers and Rhode Island's future workforce," Ken Fish, executive director, Exchange City, Providence says. "Our students will gain hands-on experience in problem-solving, decision-making, and team-work." He added, "Our heartfelt appreciation to Johnson & Wales University who has taken a visionary and leadership position in making sure that this opportunity is available to students throughout New England."
In addition to the students from UCAP, more students from Rhode Island, Massachusetts, and Connecticut will be visiting Exchange City during May and June. Nearly 6,000 students are expected to attend in 2007, with more than 10,000 anticipated in 2008.
Sponsors of the program include Johnson & Wales University, the Champlin Foundations, The United Way of Rhode Island, The Rhode Island Foundation, Washington Trust Company, Staples Foundation, Cody Foundation, Cody Education Center, Bob’s Discount Furniture, Gilbane Building Company, Dr. Irving Schneider, Dr. Clif and Darlene Boyle, Dr. Larry Fenn, Larry Zabar, Dr. Michael and Rosalyn Britt, Ken Fish and Philip and Sheri Ross.
About Johnson & Wales University
Johnson & Wales — America’s Career University® – was founded in 1914. It is a private, nonprofit, accredited institution offering undergraduate and graduate degree programs in business, food service, education, hospitality and technology. Preparing students for successful careers is the cornerstone of the University’s educational philosophy. A benchmark of the University has been its 29 consecutive year employment record – within 60 days of graduation, 98 percent of its students from the 50 states have jobs in their chosen career field. With an enrollment of more than 16,000 students, Johnson & Wales maintains campuses in Providence, R.I., North Miami, Fla., Denver, Colo., and Charlotte, N.C. For more information about Johnson & Wales University, visit www.jwu.edu.
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