Discover the Difference: An Immersive Learning Experience

by Diocese of Des Moines | January 30, 2024

Students at JA BizTown

The Diocese of Des Moines Catholic schools are dedicated to the relentless pursuit of excellence, cultivating a dynamic environment that thrives on continuous improvement, innovation, and growth. Our mission is to empower graduates with robust critical and creative thinking skills, equipping them to tackle real-world challenges independently and collaboratively. Schools across the diocese incorporate JA BizTown® into the student experience to fulfill this mission. This cornerstone program plays a pivotal role in shaping future leaders in our community.

Operated by Junior Achievement, JA BizTown® provides a unique educational experience that prepares youngTwo students at Junior Achievement BizTown students for the complexities of the working world and business environment. This cutting-edge program integrates nine hours of classroom learning, culminating in a visit to a fully interactive, simulated town where students actively engage in various roles and responsibilities, gaining invaluable hands-on experience within a real-world setting.

"BizTown is a great way for students to learn how to work and run a business. I learned so much about working with money and taxes as well as working with a team," said Eileen, a Diocese of Des Moines student.

Annually, 13 schools within the Diocese of Des Moines empower students to explore diverse career pathways, refine financial skills, fulfill civic duties, and foster collaboration with classmates by participating in JA BizTown®. The curriculum is seamlessly woven into classroom teaching, ensuring that the experience aligns seamlessly with educational objectives and offers a smooth transition from theoretical learning to the dynamic, simulated business environment.

The Des Moines JA BizTown® facility, designed with storefronts, a town hall, a radio station, and other structures mirroring a real town, is the backdrop for this immersive experience. Students assume roles as business owners, employees, and civic leaders, collaboratively managing the town's operations and making decisions regarding commerce, governance, and community involvement. This hands-on, experiential learning method allows students to comprehend the intricate interconnectedness of various community aspects, fostering a holistic understanding.

"JA BizTown benefited our financial knowledge like bank accounts, checkbooks, and being an entrepreneur," said Dutch, a Diocese of Des Moines student.

Beyond learning about the economy and entrepreneurship, JA BizTown® develops well-rounded and socially responsible students. Students cultivate essential life skills, fostering confidence, teamwork, and an appreciation for the positive impact of individual contributions within a community.

"JA BizTown empowers students with real-world skills, fostering a sense of responsibility, financial literacy, and teamwork," said Donna Bishop, Superintendent of Schools. "Witnessing the transformative impact on students' confidence and practical knowledge is truly remarkable. JA BizTown is not just a simulation; it's a gateway to a brighter, more informed future for our students."

The Diocese of Des Moines includes 16 schools in central and southwest Iowa. Catholic schools in the Des Moines Diocese build Christ-centered, collaborative, inclusive partnerships with parents, students, and parishes to provide students with innovative academic excellence and inspirational faith formation. To learn more about Catholic schools in the Diocese of Des Moines, visit or email

Diocese of Des Moines

The Diocese of Des Moines, created in 1911, serves people over a 12,446 square mile area in the southwestern quadrant of Iowa, including 23 counties.