Washington Federal graduates more than 300 students with Certification in Financial Literacy

Washington Federal honors more than 300 students with Certification in Financial Literacy. (Submitted photo)

More than 307 Metro Tech High School students earned their Certification in Financial Literacy diplomas through the Washington Federal Financial Scholars Program in May.

The program, which launched in Phoenix in 2013, provides schools with interactive, web-based financial management education tools, according to a press release, noting that it is no cost to neither the school nor taxpayers.

Washington Federal has grown to six schools in Arizona and graduated 1,740 since its inception, the release added.

“More than 70 percent of Americans are uncomfortable talking about money. And while studies suggest that millennials may be better at discussing dollars than their predecessors, our nation’s teenagers still lag behind most developed countries when it comes to their knowledge about money matters,” Mike Brown, Arizona regional president of Washington Federal and the program sponsor said in a prepared statement. “In fact, only one in five teenagers in the United States have basic-level skills about the principles of saving money.”

According to Mr. Brown, Washington Federal – based in north Scottsdale – partners with leading education technology company EVERFI, to provide local high schools with cutting-edge Washington Federal Financial Scholars Program to help fight the financial illiteracy epidemic.

“The web-based platform uses the latest in new media technology – simulations, avatars, gaming and adaptive-pathing – to bring complex financial concepts to life for today’s digital generation,” Jessica Golden, director of EVERFI K12 programs said in a prepared statement. “The high school course offers nine units that cover a variety of financial topics including credit scores, insurance, credit cards, student loans, mortgages, taxes, stocks, savings, 401k’s and other critical concepts that map to national financial literacy standards.”

The platform tracks the progress and performance of every student and provides students who successfully complete the course with Certification in Financial Literacy diplomas near traditional graduation time each May, the release stated.

The program, a noted success at pilot high school Metro Tech, resulted in Washington Federal expanding its programming with the school, the release said.

“No, we aren’t having the kids plan for careers in the NBA – we work with the faculty who run the school’s marketing classes on a Shark Tank-esque program,” Mr. Brown stated. “And no, they aren’t thrown into our ‘tank’ on the first day – they are well prepared for us.”

Mr. Brown said when students attend the first day of class, the teacher tells them they have been hired to “intern” for a business with their goal to compete in various marketing and financial activities.

While their effort is to “get hired” by the firm, getting hired is a metaphor for passing the class, noted the release.

“Then, the students take part in units throughout the semester, including pulling from lessons provided by EVERFI, culminating in them presenting a business plan for a new product launch to my team – each of us playing the part of one of the ‘sharks’ from the show,” Mr. Brown said.

Each student’s goal is to convince a representative from Washington Federal to give their team a loan to pay for the startup of a business and its initial marketing costs.

“We’ve been so impressed with some of these students that we’ve not only offered them jobs, but are willing to hold them the jobs until they graduate so they can focus on their studies first,” Mr. Brown added.

Visit www.washingtionfederal.com.

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