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WOCCU launches professional fellows program
MADISON, Wis. (9/30/11)--Education and networking opportunities will be provided through a new program offered by World Council of Credit Unions (WOCCU) to as many as 40 young credit union professionals from the Dominican Republic, Guatemala and the U.S. The Professional Fellows Program, funded in part by a grant from the U.S. State Department’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, will allow 10 young professionals each from the Dominican Republic and Guatemala to interact with 20 of their counterparts from Iowa and North Carolina. Through the new 18-month, $386,000 program, participants can pursue ways their credit unions can better serve members. “Our ongoing mission has been to facilitate exchanges between credit unions from various countries,” said Brian Branch, WOCCU president/CEO. “This grant will help us reach farther in fulfilling this mission.” The program is designed to facilitate idea exchanges, promote foreign language skills and cultural diversity, and improve problem-solving skills in credit union development and management on a global basis. Also, participants will focus on finding new ways to attract younger members to credit unions. Fellows will travel to partnering countries, with four visits scheduled between June 2012 and January 2013. Part of the U.S. participants’ experience will include a study of Hispanic cultures to more effectively serve Hispanic members back home. Other participating organizations include the Asociación de Instituciones Rurales de Ahorro y Crédito (AIRAC), which represents rural credit unions in the Dominican Republic, and the Federación Nacional de Cooperativas de Ahorro y Crédito (FENACOAC), Guatemala's national credit union trade association. U.S. participant groups include the Credit Union National Association (CUNA), the North Carolina Credit Union League, the Iowa Credit Union League ( ICUL) and Coopera Consulting--ICUL’s subsidiary focused on serving Hispanic credit union members in the U.S. AIRAC, FENACOAC and CUNA are WOCCU members. The program operates in conjunction with WOCCU’s International Partnerships Program, but the funding allows WOCCU to focus on the needs of younger credit union participants, according to Victor Miguel Corro, vice president of WOCCU’s Worldwide Foundation for Credit Unions who also oversees the partnerships program. “The Professional Fellows Program will enable us to add a new dimension to the educational and networking services we provide to the global credit union movement,” Corro said. “The program also supports our initiative of improving people's lives through credit unions.”
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