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1st Financial FCU & STL Youth Jobs Program Celebrate 2nd Year of Summer Partnership

Recently, 1st Financial Federal Credit Union completed the second year of its partnership with the City of St. Louis and Treasurer Tishaura Jones as the financial literacy advocate for the Summer Youth Employment and Financial Capability Program.

In 2013, according to the FDIC’s Economic Inclusion Survey, 29.3% of all Missouri households were considered either unbanked or underbanked while the national average was 27.7%. High unbanked and underbanked percentages often have a direct influence on the poverty level of a region. In order to combat this trend, 1st Financial Federal Credit Union partnered with STL Youth Jobs for their Summer Youth Employment and Financial Capabilities Program to serve the underbanked population of St. Louis.

The Summer Youth Employment and Financial Capability Program employs eligible youth between the ages of 16 and 24 from the middle of May through August. Participants earn a competitive wage while building confidence, responsibility, references, soft skills, and financial literacy. Since May of 2014, 1st Financial has taught financial empowerment courses during orientation while covering topics including building credit, how payday lenders work, and the importance of having a savings. Additionally, 1st Financial developed no-fee checking and savings accounts specifically for STL Youth Jobs.

The accounts are linked to debit cards to promote ease of use and encourage saving behavior by offering direct deposit and automatic allocations to savings accounts. To date, STL Youth Jobs participants have saved more than $40,516 in 1,199 accounts.

“The Summer Youth Jobs program has increased financial literacy among young employees,” says Tishaura O. Jones, City of St. Louis Treasurer. “Our partnership has provided free checking and saving accounts to every program participant. We are giving youth the financial education needed to ensure that they have access to safe financial services and a solid foundation to save their money which will produce long-term residual effects.”

Lisa Potts, of the St. Louis Unbanked Taskforce, described her experience with STL Youth Jobs members where the youth created a Youth Financial magazine: On the Money STL.

“We were grateful to be able to participate in the Summer Jobs Program. Starting from the ground up, our dream of creating a financially focused magazine for young adults came true in part because of the hard work of students from the program,” says Potts.

She continues saying, “Our employees were highly capable, motivated and acted as leaders within our group. They helped us promote our mission of financial literacy to their peers--helping to educate younger members of our community in order to build future generations of financially capable individuals. “

For more information about the Summer Youth Employment Program, please visit https://stlouis-mo.gov/government/departments/slate/.

Pictured: Tracy Verner (left), Community Development Manager at 1st Financial Federal Credit Union, and Carol Minges (right), Chief Executive Officer of 1st Financial Federal Credit Union, are pictured with a STL Youth Jobs participant during orientation.