Financial Capability Integration Project:
building the financial wellness of graduates in career development programs


Overview

The Financial Capability Integration Project takes a financial wellness approach to blending 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 product called, Money Mindset Cards, which answers a key question, “How might we improve the financial wellness of graduates in career development programs?”

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 DEVELOPMENT

The project launch began with a design-thinking process that includes defining a problem statement, generating ideas, and testing and refining select strategies.  Leading with design provides us with an effective way to quickly test strategies that are person centered. As we modify and enhance the solution through our design process, we achieve optimal results for both staff and students in each of our partners workforce programs. This iterative learning process gives Seattle Goodwill and ANEW the chance to enhance their existing service deliver systems, while their program participants explore and act on a new financial future. 

Design Results: Money Mindset Cards

Financial information can lead to good when your sense of purpose and intention are clear.

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. To form new mindsets about money, people must talk about financial matters as often as they can, in a safe and open setting. The Money Mindset Cards gave students the time they needed to engage in dialog leading to financial inspiration, healthy identities, and intention. Dialog generated by the Money Mindset Cards inspired clearer goals and meaning about money, build healthy identities with financial wellness, and create intention for the financial future that students seek.

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.

Over the next year, we'll test these cards with new partner agencies so we can learn quickly how to improve students' financial wellness.

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

Money Mindset Key Principles

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
— Workforce Program Staff

Partners

  • J.P. Morgan Chase
  • Seattle Goodwill
  • Apprenticeship & Non-Traditional Employment for Women (ANEW)
  • Navicet

RESEARCH

Workforce development programs and financial capability services share similar goals; both focus on ensuring individuals have the tools to participate in, contribute to and benefit from the mainstream economy.

Most people spend a significant portion of their adult life at work, whether it’s in an office, a factory, a retail outlet or a home-based business. While consistent income from a job is likely to ease a person’s immediate financial stress, a job alone does not ensure long-term financial security or, more importantly, mobility. In order to enjoy financial security, families must be able to weather emergencies, accessing quality financial products, and plan for the future (CFED, 2014).

Workforce organizations see their client’s struggle even after securing employment, largely due to a rise in the cost of living, past financial issues, such as high debt, low savings, and low credit scores, and lack of access to quality banking products. Financial capability services help students in career development programs manage their budgets, the ups and downs of their incomes, and help build savings and credit for the future (CFED, 2015). These services, such as credit counseling or budget management classes, meet people where they are and create opportunities for households to strengthen their finances.

The Community Jobs Bank Account Pilot (CJBAP) Project, conducted in 2014 by the WA State Department of Commerce, Lower Columbia Community Action Agency, YWCA (Seattle), and The Prosperity Agenda sought out to integrate financial empowerment services into Community Jobs, a transitional jobs training program for welfare recipients. Along with the job opportunity, parents were also offered a bundle of financial services including access to low-cost bank accounts, electronic funds transfer, Money Smart financial education, and financial coaching that addressed the clients’ challenges with personal financial management. The participants demonstrated positive financial outcomes, such as utilizing direct deposit for their paychecks, overcoming fears of interacting with the banking system, and reducing banking fees due to improved understanding of money management. Download the full report here.


PROJECT TIMELINE

August 2016 – Launch Project with Seattle Goodwill & ANEW

September – Novemeber 2016 – Talked to 10 Workforce Graduates, 30 current students, & 14 Staff

December 2016 – IDEA Sessions to Build Prototype

January 2017 – Refine Prototype, Build Evaluation Materials

February 2017– Started testing with Partners

February – September 2017 – ONGOING TESTING OF MONEY MINDSET CARDS


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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