Financial Education Lends a Hand to Self-Sufficiency
MSU Federal Credit Union, in partnership with Capital Area Michigan Works! (CAMW), has been working to increase the financial literacy of Greater Lansing over the past year.
Since September of 2013, a bi-weekly financial education program has been created for participants of “Purpose of Partnership. Accountability. Training. Hope,” or “PATH” for short. This program was established in the state of Michigan on January 1, 2013, and is required for families receiving cash assistance through the federal Family Independence Program (FIP). PATH is an employment preparation program that helps participants obtain or improve employment and work towards self-sufficiency.
PATH works closely with the mission of the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996, which established a five-year lifetime limit on Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) for adult-lead families. This limit was central in establishing the temporary nature of aid and communicating the program’s goal to move recipients quickly into work and off of welfare.
Through CAMW, families receiving FIP are encouraged to engage in PATH activities that will help them gain financial independence. MSUFCU’s financial education program, covering the topics of budgeting, understanding credit reports and scores, and fraud and identity theft in each session, helps all participants take the steps toward reaching that goal. The program has recently been opened up to anyone who enters CAMW looking for employment assistance and resources.
With the understanding that a remedy for unemployment and low to no wages isn’t a quick process, the financial education program aims to be an open classroom where participants can feel comfortable in learning to manage their finances. Some of the information can be applied to life immediately, while other information can be used by participants down the road when they reach more self-sufficient means.
“MSUFCU has had a positive impact on our clients,” said Calvin Kennebrew, Jr., PATH Case Manager and Education Instructor. “Paul [Day], who does education outreach, has been able to deliver the message of gaining financial independence in a very unique way, where clients understand we have their best interest to moving forward with employment and being financially independent.”
One financial education participant, Timothy, who estimates bringing in about $800 a month, said he is now budgeting effectively after learning new information in class.
“Using the budgeting worksheet given out during the workshop, I’m able to track my finances,” said Timothy. “Paul brings a passion with the information he provides. Thank you, MSUFCU.”
Like the mission of MSUFCU – to provide superior service while assisting members and employees to achieve financial security, their goals, and ultimately, their dreams – CAMW is focused on participants reaching the goal of a brighter, less stressful financial future. We believe this joint mission has been successful thus far.
“Our experience with MSUFCU has been by far the most pleasing, professional, courteous, honest, consistent, and helpful partnership,” Kennebrew, Jr. said. “Partnering doesn’t occur overnight; it is essential to dedicate time and effort to build a successful relationship with clients. That effort will bring the rewards of a more effective, more productive environment; MSUFCU has been a huge asset to our clients and staff.”