SOUTH BURLINGON, Vt. ( 2/23/09)--The Association of Vermont Credit Unions (AVCU) Social Responsibility Committee informed credit union manager/CEOs in the state last week about a new program that gives every Vermont credit union the opportunity to have a Certified Credit Union Financial Counselor (CCUFC) on staff within a year. The Vermont CCUFC Training Program, using the Credit Union National Association’s (CUNA) Center for Personal Development resources, offers the opportunity free to every AVCU credit union as a membership benefit, provided the credit union CEO signs an enrollment form that commits at least one full-time employee to the program. Credit unions with sufficient resources can enroll additional employees to strengthen the core study group and magnify the positive effects and benefits of the program, AVCU said. The program will utilize CUNA’s self-study modules as its training base, supplemented by biweekly conference calls facilitated by project leader Ken King, an instructor at CUNA’s Certified Financial Counselor Schools. King also will lead a one-day conference in Vermont this fall to provide face-to-face counseling skills for students. The plan is for students to achieve their CCUFC designation within a year of the program’s planned April inception. “We are living in unprecedented economic times, and many people are worried about what the future holds,” said AVCU President Joe Bergeron. “We already have certified financial counselors at some of our credit unions, but this program will extend those much needed skills statewide to more than 280,000 Vermont credit union members. “It is our fervent hope that by making this program available to our credit unions at no cost, and without the expense and time needed to attend out-of-state schools, we can immediately help them provide solid financial counseling that will calm the fears of thousands of Vermont consumers,” he added.