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April 10, 2017

Financial Literacy Workshop Focuses on Educators

By Bob Spieldenner

Educators by trade and practice, they took turns portraying hair stylists, police officers, air traffic controllers and surgeons as part of a learning exercise. They also shared with their workshop peers details on the educational level and median income for their "mock" profession.

There were murmurs of surprise when participants learned that some of those professions requiring bachelor's degrees were among the lower paying fields, and audible gasps when the second highest paying profession — air traffic controller — only required an associate's degree.

Held during national Financial Literacy Month, the exercise was used along with our tool Invest In What's Next: Life After High School during an all-day program sponsored by the Richmond Fed and the James Madison University Center for Economic Education. The online tool, which helps guide students in choosing the right career path, is one of the many resources our Economic Education team uses to teach the public about the Federal Reserve and to promote financial literacy all year long.

"The Fed has been a great partner for university centers," said Lynne Stover, associate director of the education center in Harrisonburg, Virginia. "They have been very good about developing cutting edge materials, especially for Virginia's education needs. They serve us really well."

Created by the Richmond and San Francisco Feds, the online tool has been used by students nationwide to prepare for – and make – informed decisions about education, careers and debt.

"Often times it's hard to help students get an idea on what their options are. It's helpful for them to see that you don't have to go to college. You can make a decent salary and a good living by getting a certificate or an associate's degree," said Allison Labadie, a Stewart Middle School counselor in Augusta County, Virginia. Labadie, who played an air traffic controller in the exercise, was one of 25 educators who attended the April 5 workshop.

Later this month, our economic education team will partner in two more programs held as part of National Literacy Month. The North Carolina Personal Finance Challenge and Smart Money Week programs will be held at the Richmond Fed's Charlotte Branch office and include a keynote address by Charlotte Regional Executive Matt Martin.

"Getting in front of educators who are on the front line with students helps us stay in touch with the issues they face on a daily basis. It helps us create resources that meet their needs," said Sarah Gunn, a Richmond Fed economic education content specialist who helped teach the program.

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