ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — Officials from Rochester’s Summer of Opportunity (SOOP) jobs program are giving young people a chance to manage their own savings accounts through ESL Federal Credit Union.
The SOOP initiative is part of the Cities for Financial Empowerment Fund, as well as a seed funded by the Citi Foundation.
Their Summer Jobs Connect program is helping 25 city governments provide job positions to local young residents of predominantly low incomes, as well as connecting those residents to resources for meaningful and effective financial education.
“The Citi Foundation recognizes how crucial early employment experiences and access to financial resources are in setting today’s young people up for long-term success,” Brandee McHale, Head of Citi Community Investing and Development and President of the Citi Foundation, said in a press release. “Through our support for the Cities for Financial Empowerment Fund as part of our Pathways to Progress commitment, we look forward to helping the next generation of leaders in Rochester develop the workplace and money management skills that will serve them well for the rest of their careers.”
For the pilot program, SOOP participants are being offered “Go for Gold” financial education via Consumer Credit Counseling Services of Rochester.
In addition, they will be provided an ESL Visa debit card, access to accounts that do not have monthly maintenance or overdraft fees, and incentives that will promote splitting paychecks into both their savings and checking accounts.
“Earning money is a great feeling, but so is watching what you’ve saved and keeping track of what you spend,” Mayor Malik Evans said. “Learning to manage checking and savings accounts is an important skill and a way we can help our young people on the road to success. I know the folks at ESL agree, and I am grateful they are willing to help our young people with this program.”
Officials said there are plans to expand the SOOP program to Rochester Works Summer Youth Employment participants and additional banking partners in the future. That way, more young employees will have the opportunity to access safe and affordable bank and credit union accounts and gain further financial literacy.