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Credit Union Provides Financial Capabilities Programs through Community Outreach

Dec 31, 2014

Financial Curriculum, Workshops, and Courses Offer Tools to Better Manage Financial Resources

Financial knowledge and capability is a key factor in the economic success of New Mexicans, both now and for generations to come. New Mexico Educators Federal Credit Union is uniquely dedicated to this cause, creating the nation's first Common Core State Standards-aligned financial capabilities curriculum for teachers and students throughout the state of New Mexico.

Many financial education programs in New Mexico focus on financial literacy, the basic knowledge of personal finances. New Mexico Educators Federal Credit Union has created a more in-depth, comprehensive program focusing on long-term financial capability. The program helps individuals to transition their financial literacy knowledge into lifelong tools and skills to manage their finances, such as creating a budget, making a savings plan, managing credit, and more.

"Understanding financial matters and making informed financial decisions is very important in sustaining New Mexico communities," said Terry Laudick, chief executive officer of New Mexico Educators Federal Credit Union. "Through the credit union's financial capabilities program and outreach services, we are helping New Mexicans build a strong financial foundation for their families, which in turn improves the economics of our state."

New Mexico Educators Federal Credit Union financial capabilities program is currently utilized by several educational institutions including the University of New Mexico (UNM), Central New

Mexico Community College (CNM), and Albuquerque Public Schools (APS). The credit union works closely with each institution to modify and adapt the course materials and curriculum to reflect the goals of each individual program. The financial capabilities program is scalable to provide a full Common Core State Standards-aligned 18-module curriculum, financial workshops, topic specific courses, and more. Training workshops are based on an integrated, standards aligned, financial capability curriculum created by New Mexico Educators Federal Credit Union for high school students. Some training modules that exist within the curriculum include building wealth, budgeting, credit cards, retirement, cost of college, taxes, and buying a home or car.

"At New Mexico Educators Federal Credit Union, we wanted to go above and beyond to ensure that New Mexicans receive a comprehensive financial education," said Shana Runck, assistant vice president of community relations and financial capabilities at New Mexico Educators Federal Credit Union. "As one of the most extensive programs of its kind, this financial capabilities program can be adapted and utilized to meet the needs of any educational institution or community organization to teach the importance of managing finances."

As the largest percentage of college dropouts are due to financial issues, New Mexico Educators Federal Credit Union has partnered with UNM to incorporate a financial capabilities component into the University 101 course. The semester-long course is designed to introduce freshman students to UNM with college study skills, professor teaching styles, and other information that will help to ease their transition into college. The financial portion of the course was developed by New Mexico Educators Federal Credit Union to help students incorporate financial capabilities skills in managing their finances during their transition to college to create a stable financial foundation as they continue their higher education. The credit union works with each of the University 101 instructors to individually adapt the curriculum and course materials to fit the learning goals of each class.

New Mexico Educators Federal Credit Union also provides a comprehensive teacher manual, overviews of each learning module, lesson plans, PowerPoint presentation, student activities assignments, a financial literacy officer who conducts on-site training with UNM faculty who teach the course, and more.

APS Parent University

Designed to help parents and families become more engaged in their children's schooling and education, APS has developed APS Parent University. The program provides parents with workshops and informative sessions on topics related to their child's success in school. Partnering with New Mexico Educators Federal Credit Union, the APS Parent University offers financial capabilities courses and workshops which focus on how making informed financial decisions can help parents plan for their children's future, and facilitate their student's success in school. Financial workshop topics include saving for college, managing credit, purchasing a house, purchasing a car, and much more. The APS Parent University began with five participating elementary schools in 2013, and continues to grow as it expands to 20 participating elementary schools and five participating middle schools for the 2014-2015 school year. A financial literacy officer from New Mexico Educators Federal Credit Union meets frequently with a "parent learning committee" to provide information on financial topics as well as relevant resources and materials to be used and implemented throughout the APS Parent University program.

City of Albuquerque's Running Start for Careers Career Corps

New Mexico Educators Federal Credit Union has also played an integral role in the City of Albuquerque's Running Start for Careers Career Corps program, created by Mayor Richard Berry. The Running Start for Careers program is available at no cost to high school sophomores, juniors, and seniors. Through participation in the program, students can earn dual-credit hours at their high school and at Central New Mexico Community College (CNM) while obtaining job skills and on-the-job-training from industry experts in film, finance, healthcare, hotel and tourism, utilities, surveying, and lab sciences. As a founding member of the Running Start for Careers Career Corps program, New Mexico Educators Federal Credit Union developed the Financial Services Career Exploration course, which focuses on careers available within the financial industry, including tellers, loan officers, human resource professionals, and more. Once a student completes the Financial Services Exploration course, they are eligible to apply for a paid internship with the credit union where they receive a compensation of $9.15 per hour, along with additional high school and college credit. The credit union also affords a bilingual stipend to students and recognizes bilingualism as a career asset. In the summer of 2014, the credit union employed 14 interns, more than any other organization in the state participating in the Running Start for Careers Career Corps program.

New Mexico Educators Federal Credit Union was also instrumental in the Running Start for Careers Career Corps program receiving $1.6 million in AmeriCorps funding from the Corporation for National Community Service (CNCS), the federal agency that administers the AmeriCorps program. The additional funding will integrate the financial capabilities training program into all the Running Start for Careers Career Corps classes to enhance fundamental life skills for participants. All students participating in the program will learn financial capabilities whether they are taking the film, culinary, or lab science courses. AmeriCorps members will also be placed as "success coaches" at high schools, where they will identify students who could benefit from the career track, mentor students who are already participating, and ensure that they have support to balance the other demands of their lives and families while staying on track with industry training and courses. New Mexico Educators Federal Credit Union has long been committed to the principles of education and community impact, and this work turns those commitments into reality.

New Mexico Educators Federal Credit Union provides its financial capabilities resources to teachers and educational institutions throughout the state at no cost. For more information on New Mexico Educators Federal Credit Union and its financial education resources and programs, please call 505-889-2525.

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