ST. PAUL, Minn. (12/15/14)--Minnesota's Senate Commerce Committee hosted leaders of a student-run, in-school credit union branch last week to learn about the success of the financial education program.
David Dorsett, Home Town CU youth education supervisor, left; Scott Pierce, Owatonna High School business teacher; and Jack Livingston, senior at Owatonna High School, tesitfy at Minnesota Senate Commerce Committee hearing. (Minnesota Credit Union Network Photo)
HomeTown Credit Union Youth Education Superviso
Mike Rothman, commissioner of the state department of commerce, began the hearing with a discussion on the importance of building financial capability in all citizens, and found the partnership between Home Town CU, Owatonna, Minn., with $113 million in assets, and Owatonna High School to be a great example of how to accomplish this.
"They are on the front line of financial education and are helping Minnesotans build financial security starting in kindergarten and throughout their lives," Rothman said of Home Town and the school.
Committee members learned from one student employee who attended the hearing how the experience of working at the in-school branch has helped encourage financial literacy among his peers.
The student shared that after two years of working for the credit union, where he's already conducted 20 peer-to-peer financial education presentations, he feels much more prepared for the professional world.
"In those two years I've gained real-world, professional experiences that I can use as I go on to college and throughout my career," said Jack Livingston, a senior who plans to study finance at Minnesota State University-Mankato next year.
Owatonna High School business education instructor Scott Pierce also explained how the in-school branch has translated into a schoolwide initiative for financial literacy.
"We were persistent in getting the school board to support opening the credit union branch," Pierce said. "We (now) offer three sections of personal finance classes, and what the students learn working in the branch provides them with even more tools to help their peers learn about finances."
Committee members said they were impressed with the partnership as well, and that the rest of the state would benefit from similar programs.
"It is important to me as a legislator to see what schools are doing in financial education and to get a broader idea of what's possible," said Sen. Vicki Jensen (D-Owatonna), vice chair of the committee. "I see the value in all you are doing."
Added Sen. James Metzen (D-South St. Paul), committee chair: "This should be going on in every school in Minnesota. It's so essential for kids to learn about finances and money."