Building the financial wellness of graduates in career development programs

 

Overview

The Financial Capability Integration Project blends financial capability services with employment and career training programs in South King County, Washington. With generous funding from J.P. Morgan Chase, The Prosperity Agenda, along with Seattle Goodwill and ANEW, designed and tested a new solution called, Money Mindset Cards.

Financial capability includes both the ability to act, through knowledge, skills, confidence, and motivation, and the opportunity to act, through access to quality financial products and services.
— Center for Social Development, 2010

PROGRAM Design

We leverage a human-centered design process to generate new products, programs, processes, and services that that reflect the values and goals of the families we serve – rather than our own. This means we listen to students and staff to be inspired and challenge our assumptions, judgments, and inherent biases. To learn and understand the nature of the problem in depth, we talked to 10 graduates, 30 current students, 11 staff members, and other stakeholders to learn more about how students see their own financial wellness and how programs could contribute to building more opportunities to increase their wellness. 

We learn about the unique constraints of their environment, and they help us identify where we can make the greatest impact. We immerse ourselves into these environments to better understand how students feel about their financial future. We focus on listening and asking questions like: What do you think would help you reach your financial goals? Who’s in your corner? What stands between you and your financial goals? How do you feel about your financial future? Through this qualitative research, we learned that many individuals in these programs are investing in themselves, are struggling to make ends meet, are unsure of their futures, and many had experienced significant financial challenges in their life.
 

Design Results: Money Mindset Cards

In response to the insights and challenges we learned, The Prosperity Agenda created Money Mindset Cards, activity cards that help staff facilitate conversations that allow their students to develop their own path to financial well-being.

We learned that financial capability integration is not about delivering more information more frequently, but about building mindsets when it comes to the culture of money by talking about it early and often. Through dialogue generated by activity cards we inspire clearer goals and meaning when it comes to money, build healthy identities with financial wellness, and create intention for the financial future students want. Our goal is not to change mindsets, but to create awareness that people have a money mindset that impacts their day-to-day lives, their decisions, and their future. In this way, we can start acknowledging there are no good or bad financial decisions--there are just decisions people make that is the best decision for them in that moment. Money Mindset cards generate dialogue that is student-driven, so we can start acknowledging the savviness, intuition, and strength of people experiencing financial insecurity.

Prior to the introduction of the Money Mindset Cards, students found the financial information received in the program overwhelming, and, at times, intimidating, or simply not relevant to their lives in that particular moment. We know from research, that greater self-awareness about our behaviors lead to increased financial fulfillment. When people raise their awareness from the sub-conscious to the conscious level, they access their own personal power and begin to make better choices.

I participated in the activity as well as the students. I liked how regardless of your knowledge or experience the cards are still impactful and educational.”
— Workforce Program Staff

Principles of Money Mindset Cards

Money Mindset Cards aim to….

  • Build mindfulness and agency.
  • Create an environment of financial choice, not judgment.
  • Approach all people from a place of strength.
  • Promote dialog, peer-to-peer learning and idea exchange through facilitated discussion
  • Generate opportunities to build confidence and motivation for the future
  • Develop a deeper understanding of our behavior and ourselves
I like how it made them think about their future. These questions are very inspirational.”
— Workforce Program Staff

Partners

  • J.P. Morgan Chase
  • Seattle Goodwill
  • Apprenticeship & Non-Traditional Employment for Women (ANEW)
  • Farestart
  • Mary's Place
  • Associated Ministries

PROJECT TIMELINE

August 2016 – Launch Project with Seattle Goodwill & ANEW

September - October 2016 - Research by interviewing graduates, current students, & staff

November 2016 - Synthesized Insights

December 2016 - Idea session to immerse in research and generate ideas

January 2017 – Present Money Mindset concept to partners

February 2017– Start testing 5 Money Mindset Cards with partners

October  2017 – Added 6 Money Mindset Cards to test & 2 new partners (Fairstart & Mary’s Place) 

March 2017 – Building support materials, such as a training video, etc. to ensure fidelity and scaling of the product


CONTACT US

For more information about this financial capability integration project, contact Alicia Atkinson, Program Development Manager, at aliciaa@theprosperityagenda.org


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