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New Jersey Business Magazine - Preparing Students for Economic Security Through Financial Literacy

In celebration of Financial Literacy Month, JA of New Jersey (JANJ) and 28 CNBC volunteers empowered 87 students from Parsippany High School by helping them imagine their futures and gain the knowledge and skills needed to take control of their financial success. Hosted by Kate Dore, a CNBC Personal Finance Reporter, this exclusive interactive event gave teens direct access to the country’s most knowledgeable experts on financial literacy. As an extension of JANJ’s digital and experiential learning resources, this financial wellness and education collaboration allowed for a robust virtual discussion about economic empowerment.

While every month at JA of New Jersey (JANJ) is Financial Literacy Month, featuring this partnership during a nationally recognized month to highlight the importance of financial education was important and purposeful. As ample research points out, the optimal time to teach new concepts is when learners are young. When it comes to learning new subject matters, teens are much faster learners than adults, which is why teaching the importance of financial literacy at a young age is crucial in setting up the next generation for success. This virtual event was a unique opportunity for students to get a head start on responsibly planning their futures and obtain valuable advice from business professionals with extensive years of life and work experiences.

Facilitated by Kate Dore, a CNBC Personal Finance Reporter and a Certified Financial Planner professional, the virtual event unpacked the value of learning critical skills, like effective money management, budgeting and investing. Prior to the event, JANJ Staff held planning sessions with CNBC, implemented a lesson from the JA Finance Park Advanced curriculum to be used in a breakout session, and designed a mentor guide for CNBC volunteers.

With CNBC leaders from a variety of career stages and backgrounds, the discussed cost of living and wages, budgeting and saving skills, and advice about setting financial goals for the future. To tie the program together, the diverse group of panelists recommended straightforward strategies to help inspire students to work hard and persevere.

Students and CNBC volunteers were assigned breakout rooms to engage in an informal setting. After the discussions, students were encouraged to use the chat feature to post additional comments and questions, in which volunteers were able to see the impact of their breakout room discussions, and students shared their own reactions and feedback to the points made by the speakers through a post-event survey. In reflecting on her experience, Genevieve, a Parsippany Hills High School student expressed “Working with my volunteer helped me understand the basics of adulting, living cost + median wage. To know if you make enough to live (cover food, rent, taxes, utilities, etc.) from the wages you should roughly earn from your job. I didn’t understand how important it was to know.”

Ahmed Kandil, the Personal Finance teacher at Parsippany Hills High School shared his thoughts of the event “The last two years have been challenging for teachers, but especially for our students. I’m so appreciative of having JA bring CNBC volunteers to our students to help them think about the future, a thought that they may not be thinking about since most are living day-to-day. I get so used to seeing them in class, that it was refreshing to see these students “all in” with their volunteers.”

As the nation’s largest organization dedicated to empowering young people to take ownership of their personal economic achievement and plan for their futures, JANJ understands the significance of infusing these core values into their practices. There exists a continual opportunity, through in-school programs provided by JANJ, to educate young people in grades K-12 about the economics of life. To learn more about these learning initiatives, provided at no cost to schools and students statewide, click here.


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