Photo by Ross VanPelt

By Christopher Canty

Something that many parents, and teachers want the upcoming generation to learn about is financial literacy, and the positive impacts that comes from it. Fifth Third Bank and educational technology company EVERFI partnered up to develop the Fifth Third Finance Academy. The program was introduced to juniors at Shroeder High School in Madisonville on October 16. “We want teenagers to be prepared to make responsible financial decisions,” said Brian Lamb, the executive vice president of Fifth Third. Finance Academy will be an interactive online format, where students with access to Wi-Fi will be able to use it. There is no charge to the school for using the program.

Fifth Third’s goal is to reach 150,000 students each year by two online courses through Finance Academy. These classes will cover investing basics, financial accounts, and even connecting finances with higher education, such as learning how to fill out a FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid for government financial aid for college).Manageable lesson modules will help keep the courses approachable and not overwhelming for students.

The program will have a strong emphasis on entrepreneurship. Part of what the student will learn is how to start and fund a business. “Entrepreneurs who establish and run small businesses are the future and a key driver of healthy economies,” said Kala Gibson, senior vice president and head of business banking for Fifth Third.

Dhani Jones. Photo by Ross VanPelt

The event featured an introduction of the program, such as an interactive activity where students responded “True” or “False” to various statements regarding finances. It was an opportunity to learn something new and do away with old misconceptions that many, including themselves and their parents may have had. Dhani Jones, former NFL Bengals linebacker and entrepreneur was a surprise celebrity guest who came to talk to the students about his business. He told them that 85 percent of those who go into the NFL eventually go broke, emphasizing the importance of knowing how to properly take care of finances. Jones explained to the students that there are a lot of people who start at a good place, but fall because of bad decisions. “This program is a 360 approach to financial literacy,” he said Monday, explaining the variety and depth of the financial topics that the students will learn.

Dr. Laura Mitchell. Photo by Ross VanPelt

In addition to the program that many CPS students will have access to, a $10,000 grant from Fifth Third was given to the school district. “This will provide cutting edge technology in education,” said Dr. Laura Mitchell, Cincinnati Public Schools superintendent. The grant will enhance Cincinnati Public Schools’ ongoing One-to-one tech initiative, with its primary goal to make technology available to all students in the district with their own school laptops, class and mini projectors, cameras, and other technology equipment to aid the classroom. It comes full circle as the grant will bring technology to students who may not have easy access to it. With the technology, they will have access to Finance Academy, bringing them closer to the goal of Fifth Third and EverFi’s Finance Academy: making teens financially literate.

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