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Workforce System Success Stories - Workforce Development and Adult Learning

Integrating Financial Education into Workforce Development Programs

Maryland Department of Labor staff, in a joint project with the Department of Disabilities, recently participated in training on how to integrate financial education into the workforce development programs. This training was conducted by the CASH Campaign of Maryland (CASH), who promotes economic advancement for low-to-moderate income individuals and families in Baltimore and across Maryland. CASH has extensive experience in financial education, counseling, and coaching.

Financial Education Training for Practitioners:
CASH conducted staff training across the regions of Maryland, receiving a resounding interest from the staff of the various partners, including American Job Centers (AJC), Division of Rehabilitation Services (DORS), and the Centers for Independent Living (CILS).

Through this project, CASH focused on improving clients’ financial stability and well-being and used measures connected to national networks with research-based practices. Because individuals value different things, traditional measures such as income or net worth, while important, do not fully capture financial well-being. CASH follows the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s definition1 of financial well-being:

  • Have control over day-to-day, month-to-month finances;
  • Have the capacity to absorb a financial shock;
  • Are on track to meet financial goals; and
  • Have the financial freedom to make the choices that allow you to enjoy life.

Staff attended a comprehensive training to ground their knowledge in core financial topics and learn specific activities/tools to use with clients. Topics covered included: financial wellbeing, psychology of financial decision making, financial institutions, alternative financial services/products, budgeting, credit and debt. To provide more depth and longevity to this work, management identified staff who could be trained on curriculum to deliver financial education classes moving forward. CASH then provided ‘train the trainer’ sessions for these staff, so they were comfortable delivering the content.

Financial Education Train the Trainer:
CASH provided a 2 day train the trainer session for 14 staff from all of the regions. Content included:

  • Earn It, Plan It, Keep It: The psychology of improving financial decision making, how to set and reach financial goals and budgeting
  • Daily Money Management: Financial institutions and alternative financial services
  • Credit Smarts: Overview of credit, how to read credit reports, credit scores and ways to build or rebuild a positive credit history
  • Conquering Debt: Covers the rules and regulations for debt collectors and the steps for paying off debt

Training Results:
CASH was contracted to train 75 staff, but as a result of the demand, CASH conducted 14 trainings for 415 staff. Surveys of the participants have been overwhelmingly positive with 96% percent of staff saying the trainings were very good or excellent, 91% percent saying they feel more confident discussing finances with clients, and 98% percent saying the trainings helped increase their knowledge and skills to be able to provide financial education. Staff are using budgeting, money personality assessment, goal setting and credit report tools with clients whether in the one on one work or in the ROW/RESEA classes.

Training attendance by region

  1. Financial well-being: The goal of financial education