In-school credit unions teach youth money management and more

Student credit unions allow youth a hands-on way to take control of their money and financial future.

Credit unions across the country are opening branches in elementary, middle and high schools. Referred to as a student credit union, in-school credit union branches provide a unique and hands-on way for youth to take control of their money and financial future. In southwest Michigan, Honor Credit Union started Student Credit Unions in 2012 and they currently have 16 of the in-school credit unions. Students are able to open their own savings account to make deposits; withdraws are not allowed at the in-school credit unions.

Students within the school become the employees. Students complete an application that requires a parent or guardian signature. The youth are then required to be interviewed—a real face-to-face interview.

Students are instructed and mentored on how to run the branch. Students who are selected to work at in-school credit union branches gain valuable job skills by serving as tellers, bookkeepers, computer operators, branch managers or marketing managers. In addition, students learn about confidentiality, professionalism, behavior in a business environment and the importance of communication skills.

Not only does this program teach valuable skills to the students working the credit union, it also gives all students real-life lessons in savings and finance. I recently spoke with a local branch manager that runs an in-school credit union and she stated the students go through teller training and cash handling training as well as confidentiality training. They each get a name tag and a shirt they must wear each day they work.

Students can also be “fired” if they don’t show up to work or if they are there to play and not pay attention.

In-school credit unions are helping to build the following skills in students:

  • Resume writing and interviewing techniques
  • Professionalism and teamwork
  • Responsibility and leadership skills
  • Student confidence
  • Counting money efficiently
  • Healthy savings habits
  • Interpersonal and communication skills
  • Math skills and more

As a part of our work, Michigan State University Extension provides programming related to financial literacy and the Michigan State University Federal Credit Union also has a variety of educational resources available to the public. 4-H Youth Development helps to prepare young people for successful futures. As a result of career exploration and workforce preparation activities, thousands of Michigan youth are better equipped to make important decisions about their professional future, ready to contribute to the workforce and able to take fiscal responsibility in their personal lives.

To learn more about the positive impact of MSU Extension and Michigan 4-H career preparationmoney management and entrepreneurship programs, read the2016 Impact Report: “Preparing Michigan Youth for Future Employment.”

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