HARRISBURG – In order to increase the quality and availability of financial education in communities throughout the commonwealth, the Office of Financial Education today concluded a two-day symposium for organizations that offer money management classes, housing counseling and other financial education services to adults and senior citizens.
Over 70 community organizations, financial institutions, government agencies and non-profits from nearly 30 counties gathered in Harrisburg for “The Common Wealth Symposium: Improving Financial Education in Pennsylvania Communities” to gain new skills, share successes and discuss challenges such as obtaining funding, choosing curriculum and marketing their financial education programs.
“Financial education is essential to every family’s day-to-day survival as well as Pennsylvania’s overall economy,” said acting Banking Secretary Victoria A. Reider during a lunchtime speech at the symposium today. “In the face of an increasingly complex financial marketplace, rising consumer debt and low household savings rates, the need for programs that teach sound money management, promote saving and investing, and open the door to sustainable homeownership is greater than ever.”
The Banking Department hosts the independent, statewide Office of Financial Education, which was created by executive order in 2005.
“By creating the Office of Financial Education,” Reider said, “Governor Rendell has demonstrated the commonwealth’s commitment to helping working families achieve greater self-sufficiency and prosperity.”
The Office of Financial Education maintains a searchable database of more than 200 community-based resources such as housing counselors, university cooperative extension offices, programs and services on its Web site, www.moneysbestfriend.com. In addition, visitors can get information on a variety of personal finance topics such as making a budget, choosing a bank, planning for retirement and paying for higher education.
Today’s symposium is the latest effort to increase the quality and availability of financial education provided in schools, workplaces and communities throughout Pennsylvania. The Pennsylvania Office of Financial Education routinely provides no-cost, in-service training to teachers throughout the state.
Next month, in partnership with the Department of Education, the office will host the third annual Governor’s Institute for Financial Education. The institute is a week-long residential program that trains teachers of all grade levels to incorporate age-appropriate financial concepts into the reading, mathematics and other subject matter they are already teaching in the state’s K – 12 classrooms. The office has also completed a pilot program to document the effectiveness and benefits of providing commercial-free financial education in the workplace.
Outcomes of the pilot will be used to encourage private employers to incorporate financial education into their existing workplace benefits and family life services.