2016 RI Financial Capability Conference at RIC

Sen. Jack Reed poses with Margaret Brooks, president of the RI Jump$tart Coalition and the RI Council for Economic Education and director of the Office of Financial Literacy Initiatives at Bridgewater State University.

Sen. Jack Reed poses with Margaret Brooks, president of the RI Jump$tart Coalition and the RI Council for Economic Education and director of the Office of Financial Literacy Initiatives at Bridgewater State University.

The RI Jump$tart Coalition and the RI Council for Economic Education organized the 2016 RI Financial Capability Conference at Rhode Island College on Feb. 13, drawing approximately 150 interested policymakers, educators and industry leaders.

This conference was part of an ongoing state initiative to equip Rhode Island students with financial literacy skills, to provide resources and professional development for teachers of financial literacy and to promote the need for financial education throughout the region.

“The conference provided an effective forum for educators, students, policymakers and companies to share their ideas, resources and best practices for teaching financial literacy,” said Margaret Brooks, president of the RI Jump$tart Coalition and the RI Council for Economic Education and director of the Office of Financial Literacy Initiatives at Bridgewater State University.

Interactive exhibits, panel discussions and professional development opportunities for Rhode Island and Massachusetts teachers were offered throughout the day, as well as a number of workshops, such as “Tech Tools for Educators,” “Cyber Security,” “Financial Factors in the College Decision” and “Managing Insurance Risk in Today’s World.” Panel discussions focused on “Promoting Business Education in Your Schools” and “Financial Literacy @ Your Library.”

Speakers included Sen. Jack Reed, Rep. Jim Langevin, General Treasurer Seth Magaziner and Commissioner of Postsecondary Education Jim Purcell.

Reed, who is a founding member of the Financial and Economic Literacy Caucus in the U.S. Senate, pointed to the importance of financial literacy: “From managing a household budget to making major purchases, to paying for college, to starting a business and laying the groundwork for a secure retirement, basic financial literacy is essential to success.”

The senator noted that “the combined work by the RI Jump$tart Coalition, the RI Council for Economic Education and Rhode Island College has already resulted in the adoption of financial literacy standards for students, and their work with educators is bringing those standards to life.”

Langevin added that “financial literacy is a key component to building a well-informed community and a skill set that will serve young people for their entire lives. These tools empower people of all ages to make smart decisions that will put them on a path to self-reliance and prosperity.”

As the state’s treasurer, Magaziner noted how he is “reminded every day of the critical importance of equipping our young people and all Rhode Islanders with financial literacy skills, so that they are able to make smart financial decisions throughout their lives.”

Upon the conclusion of the conference, Brooks stated, “I am inspired to see the wide range and diversity of individuals and organizations who are interested in working together to build financial capability in our region.”

Sponsors of and contributors to the 2016 RI Financial Capability Conference were Alex and Ani, Bridgewater State University, EverFi, Fidelity Investments, H&R Block, HarborOne Bank, Junior Achievement of Rhode Island, Navigant Credit Union, Next Gen Personal Finance, Orange Leaf Frozen Yogurt, Pawtucket Credit Union, Rhode Island College and Rhode Island Student Loan Authority.