As YouthBuild programs prepare their young people to be ready to work, they also have a significant responsibility to provide sound financial education to ensure that youth become financially competent, confident, and secure. Providing formal financial capability and literacy curricula that is intentional is essential in assisting the next generation of workers to make informed financial decisions and plan for their future security.
Financial Literacy can readily be imbedded into all aspects of the YouthBuild program model. Key elements to consider when planning for Financial Literacy training include, but are not limited, to the following:
- How does financial literacy connect to YouthBuild payments to participants?
- Are payments via check? Direct deposit?
- Does the program incentive savings in some way?
- Are participants paid stipends, wages or both?How does that impact payments (i.e. taxes, FICA, UI, etc.)?
- What curriculum to use?
- Many online curricula are available to use for free (FDIC’s Money Smart: https://www.fdic.gov/consumers/consumer/moneysmart/index.html and Visa and the NFL’s Financial Football: https://www.practicalmoneyskills.com/play/financial_football are two examples)
- Does the curriculum need to be adapted for use in a YouthBuild program?
- Do teachers need special training to deliver the content?
- Who will teach the classes?
- Partners (such as a local credit union)?
- A combination?
- Instructional strategies – a variety of instructional strategies should be used to fully engage the learners and to maximize the effectiveness, such as:
- Problem-based learning
- Relevant and real-life applications
- Guided practice
- Skills to identify and understand:
- Types of financial institutions
- Budgets and money management
- Earning a paycheck - withholding
- Paying bills and paying on time
- Types of accounts – savings, checking, no fees, interest bearing
- Credit, credit care, and credit scores
- Debit cards
- Accessibility - online banking, locations of banks
Partnerships with financial institutions are critical in planning and delivering the services in this area. Local banks and credit unions are typically very willing to partner with YouthBuild programs to support first bank accounts for participants, give presentations, teach classes, and provide tours of their facilities. These professionals can also explain to the youth the variety of services that they offer and how to best access these services.
Financial Literacy Resources
MyMoney.gov –Congressionally-chartered Federal Financial Literacy and Education Commission which was created to strengthen financial capability and increase access to financial services for all Americans.
This seven-week, hands-on financial education program introduces participants to basic financial planning concepts such as goal setting, making a spending plan, building an emergency fund, and the wise use of credit.
Money Smart - The FDIC's Money Smart financial education program can help people of all ages enhance their financial skills and create positive banking relationships.
Banzai – free financial literacy online for students of all ages.
America Saves - America Saves is a campaign coordinated by the nonprofit Consumer Federation of America (CFA) to help individuals save money, reduce debt, and build wealth.