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HARRISBURG, Pa.-Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell has added new meaning to the phrase “on-the-job training.” Through the joint efforts of the Governor’s Office of Financial Education, the Pennsylvania Credit Union Association (PCUA) and Pennsylvania State Employees Credit Union (PSECU), state employees will have the chance to improve their financial literacy by participating in a series of financial education classes. The program was created as a result of the Governor’s Task Force for Working Families. “PSECU really took the ball and ran with it-designing a full curriculum for the seminars,” said Michael Wishnow, senior vice president of communications and marketing for PCUA. “This also shows a lot of initiative on the part of Governor Rendell’s office, that the governor’s office has enough concern that his workforce has a sound base when it comes to financial education.” Phase I of the program began at the end of September with an abridged format for employees in the governor’s executive office consisting of two one-hour modules addressing four subject areas: budgeting, saving and investing, credit and debt, and buying a home. “I think we did whet those folks’ appetites,” Wishnow said. “I didn’t see a full complement of evaluations, but the ones I saw scored very, very well.” “You could definitely see the light going on in their eyes at certain parts,” said Nate Muniz, public relations manager at PSECU, who presented three of the four program segments. “For others, I think it was more of a refresher, or perhaps they came away with one or two new ideas they could use. We definitely gave them a slightly different way they could look at things.” Once all evaluations have been reviewed, the program team will tweak the sessions for improvements. Phase II will feature seminars presented to employees of three state agencies: the Department of Banking, the Board of Probation and Parole; and the Department of Environmental Protection. The ultimate goal is to expand the program to four two-hour sessions and to present it to all 86,000 state employees. “One of the challenges in this is that Pennsylvania is a big state,” Wishnow said. “In some cases, you can bring them together easily; in some cases, it will be harder because they’re spread all over. But, built into this process is a lot of flexibility. We could do a seminar after hours, or we could do it over lunch.” Despite the challenges, however, Wishnow sees the program as a great opportunity for improving the general level of financial education within the state. “We in the credit union movement believe this should be taught in school,” Wishnow said. “But if it’s not, then the workplace is as good a place as any.” “Most people know enough [about financial matters] to get by, but they could use a bit of help,” Muniz added. “There’s a difference between being financially fit by walking around the track a few times and running a six-minute mile.” [email protected]

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