In the fall of 2009, FPA San Francisco, through its Pro Bono Committee, launched a partnership with Job Corps to help Bay Area youth learn basic money management skills through workshop modules. By way of background, Job Corps is a federally funded, free education and training program that helps young people acquire job skills, earn a high school diploma or GED, and find and keep a good job. Job Corps is operated by the U.S. Department of Labor with 123 locations nationwide. The Bay Area campus is located on Treasure Island with approximately 600 students, age 16 to 24. Students of Job Corps graduate with a high school diploma in about one year and study a trade to become employable. The program is free and students receive room and board plus a small stipend to cover some expenses.
FPASF has targeted Job Corps students who are in their last few months of the program, during their career transition phase. Volunteer presenters offer workshops to teach students how to set up a budget and emergency savings; manage debt; use, build and repair credit; and understand banking and identity theft. Sessions are interactive with students utilizing real life examples to learn the basic money management skills they will need to be successful when they graduate. Job Corps staff members assist volunteers field questions; incentives are often presented to the teenagers through raffles and food.
As Krista Vendetti, Job Corps Career Transition Supervisor observed:
“During the sessions students will exchange experiences and the volunteer guides the students to the correct way of deal with the financial problem. These workshops serve several purposes on our campus– preparing our students in the transitional phase for financial success and creating a discussion forum around important financial topics.”
The following student comments capture the impact:
“I learned alternatives to over-spending my money.” – Jair Pedemonte, Student
“I appreciated the financial planning session from the FPA; how we learned about bank accounts and credit building.” – Gerald Rogers, Student
Through Job Corps, FPA members have the opportunity to expand their usual focus from wealthy, mature clients with portfolio management needs, to the future generation, who are most susceptible and able to benefit from practical advice and good habits. FPASF is committed to the national FPA goal to enrich the lives of the youth in our local communities. If you would like to learn more about how you can participate, please contact JobCorps project lead Mike Pablo at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I volunteer with Job Corps because I enjoy helping young adults learn basic money management skills. I have access to workshop content that has already been developed and tested, so I’m building on effective materials and easy to follow exercises to do with the students. The Job Corps staff is enthusiastic and supportive of the FPA partnership, they make it easy for me to just show up and talk to the students. Students are given incentives to attend with raffles, pizza nights and they are genuinely interested in learning skills to become financially fit. At the end of a session, a student came up to me with his outline he had drawn up during the workshop that showed how he was going to save money once he graduated from high school and was able to get a job as a chef and live with his mom. – Rebecca Contin
Many of the Job Corps students have not been given the opportunities
I found my Job Corps experience to be very rewarding: the students were engaged, attentive, and effusive with their gratitude. While a single one-hour class seems woefully inadequate for financial education, I felt like I did make a difference. At the end of the class, the students mentioned some key points that they learned, and I hope that they will take these points with them into the real world. – Stephanie Lee