Earlier in November, we were very excited to have the Oregon IDA Initiative’s Program Manager, Jessica Junke, attend a roundtable discussion in Washington DC on Building Financial Capability through Youth Employment Programs, which was hosted by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) and the Financial Literacy and Education Commission (FLEC). Attendees included practitioners, researchers, non-profit service providers, financial institutions, and government officials. Together, we discussed promising practices, critical challenges, and opportunities in promoting the financial capability of youth who are participating in summer and year-round employment programs.
Neighborhood Partnerships shared our own successes and energy surrounding youth financial capability opportunities throughout Oregon and their growing presence within the Oregon IDA Initiative. Perhaps the most exciting part of the roundtable was hearing about what other organizations are doing around the country to ensure opportunity for youth in their communities. Their experiences show that not only are young people hungry for opportunities to earn their own income, but in particular to save for their futures. Time and time again, organizations have experienced youth taking full advantage of these employment and savings programs that empower them to build a solid pathway to their own financial security. For example, the Philadelphia Youth Network, San Francisco’s Make Your Path (MY Path), and D.C’s Summer Youth Employment Program (SYEP) are all city-wide programs focusing on youth from households with lower incomes earning their first paycheck – a critical “teachable moment” to promote savings and connect youth with mainstream financial products. These examples of innovative programs across the country provide valuable opportunities for the Oregon IDA Initiative to continue learning from on-the-ground practitioners who have experienced the successes and challenges that come with building strong pathways to opportunity for the young people in their communities. Working together and learning from other states, we here in Oregon can continue rebuilding a state that ensures opportunity for prosperity for generations to come.