With campaign rhetoric about jobs and the economy heating up during election season, students in Pasco schools will learn the real story of how American businesses work from Junior Achievement volunteers.
JA workers will begin visiting classes this week for the lessons, said Greg Giordano, chairman of the Pasco JA program.
Giordano has taught students about business for almost 25 years.
Most folks know Giordano as the long-time chief legislative assistant to state Sen. Mike Fasano, beginning when Fasano was a state representative. But back in 1988, Giordano worked as a Domino's Pizza manager, so he has experience in the private sector, too.
In the 2011-12 school year, the local JA program taught 2,541 students in 81 elementary and 22 middle school classes, Giordano said.
This year, students will learn Economics for Success, which concentrates on practical information about personal finances. Students, primarily fifth-graders, also will learn the importance of setting education and career goals.
The Diploma-See program encourages kids to stay in school by demonstrating the value of obtaining a diploma.
In May, the intergenerational program brought together second-grade students, JA volunteers, senior citizens from CARES and high school students to teach basic economics.
Hudson Elementary students were among those who learned how assembly lines boost production.
The children used stickers to simulate production of doughnuts, said Kym McGee, senior education director for Junior Achievement of West Central Florida in Clearwater.
First, individual students "cooked" as many doughnuts as possible in a two-minute drill. Then a team of students divided tasks to produce far more doughnuts in the same amount of time.
"It's really good for the seniors who want to share their experience in business and pass it along to the next generation," Giordano said about the spring-semester program.
It also teaches youngsters about pricing, supplies and profit, Giordano said.
In hands-on demonstrations, fifth-graders often tackle concepts such as sole proprietorships, partnerships and corporations. Hiring and firing decisions comprise part of the lesson. Marketing products in a global market also is outlined.
For instance, Giordano appoints student stockholders in an imaginary company. Students are surprised to learn that if a pizza sells for $10, the pizzeria might make only about $1 of profit.
In another exercise, Giordano plays referee between "management" and "stockholders" in an imaginary auto repair business.