NORTHVILLE TOWNSHIP, Mich. – Who says play-acting won’t help people advance in the business world? Michigan credit unions and the Michigan Credit Union League have teamed up to help promote the latest generation of fiscally savvy young entrepreneurs-through play. Kansas City, Missouri-based educational company Experiencia has constructed a 20,800 square-foot learning facility complete with Exchange City, a mock town that is run by kids in Taylor, Michigan. Exchange City features a newspaper, radio/television station, post office, city hall, health care center, an array of merchandisers and its own Exchange City Credit Union. It is estimated that some 15,000 students from grade five through seven attending schools within a 60-mile radius of the Experiencia facility will visit the metropolis annually. Prior to visiting students participate in 40 hours of preparatory classroom training on such topics as economics, personal finance, career exploration, and how to apply for a business loan. Kids also learn how to write a resume and apply for a job during training. When visiting the facility students become city leaders, shop owners and employees of Exchange City for a day. At the credit union, one lucky student will get to be Exchange City CU President and the others will function as loan officers and tellers. “Exchange City CU represents a unique opportunity for both kids and credit unions,” said MCUL President/CEO David Adams. “The kids get the real life experience of opening accounts, making deposits, writing checks and even borrowing for their businesses. And credit unions have the opportunity to market the credit union brand to the next generation of consumers.” Within the next five years Experiencia plans to build sites in over 40 cities and by June 2008, it is projected 1.6 million students will be participating in programs year-round across the country.

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