Georgia World Congress Center Space Used to Educate, Entertain Local Community

August 6, 2014

Even though the Georgia World Congress Center is one of the country’s largest convention center venues with 1.3-plus million square feet of exhibit space, the building is used for much more than just hosting meetings, conventions and trade shows. 

Through unique partnerships in the community, the venue not only has two education centers tucked into converted meeting room space, but also the College Football Hall of Fame will be opening in August on the venue’s campus. 

For local students looking for a career in the trade show industry, the GWCC offers an invaluable opportunity through a partnership with the Georgia State School of Hospitality to have a Learning Center in the building. 

At the Learning Center, which was opened in 2007 and is located in meeting rooms in the GWCC, students are close to all of the action taking place, as shows move in and out of the building. 

“We wanted to put a classroom on the campus so they would have real-world experiences,” said Mark Zimmerman, GWCC’s general manager. 

He added that the students often help out at the shows and event organizers also come to the classroom and lead sessions on what it takes to put a show together. 

“It’s been a tremendous help,” said Debby Cannon, director of GSU’s School of Hospitality Robinson College of Business. “Show organizers can come right up from their shows.” 

She added that the actual experience that the students get by being onsite at the GWCC is invaluable. 

“They love it,” she added. “They are used to a more traditional academic classroom, but to be there in the thick of things and to see people coming and going gives them a better feel for reality.”

Besides GSU’s learning center,  another meeting room area of the GWCC is used for the Junior Achievement's Chick-fil-A Foundation Discovery Center. 

The Discovery Center is made up of meeting room space that has been converted into a ‘mini’ business town – JA BizTown and JA Finance Park - with companies including Belk, ING, Georgia Power and SunTrust, to name a few. 

Each year, more than 30,000 6th thru 8th grade students have the opportunity to take part in programs held at the Discovery Center in which they take on the rolls of an employee, taxpayer and consumer. 

During simulated assignments, students take on simulated roles from everything from being a cashier to being a CEO of a Fortune 500 company, as well as performing tasks such as depositing a check at the bank and made purchasing decisions for sales at their assigned company. 

For more on JA Biztown and JA Finance Park click HERE

Also located on the GWCC campus and opening Aug. 23 will be the College Football Hall of Fame and Chick-fil-A Fan Experience. 

Built in the GWCC’s Green Parking Lot area, the 94,000-square-foot centerpiece will feature historic and contemporary artifacts, interactive multimedia displays, children’s activities, theater, meeting facilities and special event spaces.

“It’s huge!” Zimmerman said. “They are expecting 500,000 people to visit (each year), and (they have) signed a 30-year agreement.”

For more on the College Football Hall of Fame click HERE.

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