ST. PAUL, Minn. (9/16/08)--The Minnesota Credit Union Network (MnCUN) and the University of Minnesota Extension (UME) received the Community Partnership Award from the National Education Association of Family & Consumer Sciences (NEAFCS) for their collaboration on financial education training for teachers and credit union representatives. The award recognizes NEAFCS members for efforts in building community partnerships to meet the educational needs and concerns of families. Award recipients receive national recognition and monetary compensation to develop additional educational programs to enhance the partnership.
“Our partnership is a terrific example of the success that is possible when organizations collaborate on a local level,” said Kristina Wright, MnCUN vice president-communications. “Credit unions are community-oriented financial institutions, and teaching financial education and financial literacy helps to strengthen countless communities across the state of Minnesota.” MnCUN and UME joined forces in 2004 to coordinate financial education “train the trainer” workshops for teachers and credit union professionals. They conducted training in 2004, 2005 and 2007, and are planning 2009 training. Past workshops centered on the National Endowment for Financial Education (NEFE) High School Financial Planning Program and topics such as credit, debt and bankruptcy. The workshops also provide networking opportunities and encourage collaboration. “The networking component is a unique side benefit to our workshops and is not common in other states,” Wright said.
“Our ultimate goal is to increase young people’s level of financial education,” said Becky Hagen Jokela, UME Extension educator, family resource management. The partnership can "communicate the importance of financial literacy, and teachers have the option to use others’ knowledge and experiences to make financial topics--which are sometimes obscure, complicated, or seemingly irrelevant to youth--actually interesting and applicable to students,” she said. Hagen Jokela and other UME representatives will attend the NEAFCS Annual Conference in Indianapolis this week and accept the award on behalf of the team.