Summer Youth Campaign
DollarWise encourages every city to incorporate a financial education component into its summer youth employment program. Our goal is to make financial education a key component of every summer youth job.
A summer youth job can be a watershed moment in a youth’s life when he/she learns the responsibility of work and the excitement of earning money. Being hired for a job and receiving a paycheck is a teachable moment that can shape attitudes and habits that last a lifetime.
The DollarWise Summer Youth Campaign is an initiative to encourage mayors to use their summer youth employment program to deliver financial education to youth in their community. It’s all about seizing the teachable moment of a young person’s first paycheck. The idea is to use this window of opportunity to instill in youth conscientious habits and attitudes toward money and equip them with financial-management skills.
Summer Youth Campaign Grants
Each year, the DollarWise Summer Youth Campaign awards grants of $4,000 each to five cities with innovative efforts to incorporate financial education into their summer youth employment programs. As of 2013, DollarWise has provided Summer Youth Campaign grants to 20 cities (see map above). The application processes for both the Summer Youth Campaign and Innovation Grants begin each November. Winners are announced during the U.S. Conference of Mayors' Winter Meeting in Washington, D.C. in January. For more information, check back at this page in the coming months.
2013 Summer Youth Grant Winners
Wichita Mayor Carl Brewer
The City of Wichita’s "The Way to Work" program provides paid work experience to youth four hours a day, Monday through Thursday. The program also includes a paid, four-hour workshop session every Friday. Prior to starting their jobs, youth participate in workshops on financial literacy and money management. These workshops are presented by Consumer Credit Counseling and Workforce Investment Act staff. Youth 14 and 15 years old, living in Public Housing, or with families receiving Section 8 Housing Choice Vouchers, are targeted for financial education workshops. The DollarWise SYC grant will be used to develop an enhanced financial education curriculum, obtain classroom teaching tools, and provide take home materials to reinforce the information learned. Community agencies will be encouraged to provide instructors for the youth, and match DollarWise funds to be used as incentives for youth who achieve financial literacy goals. The City's program will also use DollarWise funds to weave financial literacy lessons into each week’s workshop agenda for up to 8 weeks.
St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay
The City of St. Louis’ STL Youth Jobs Program is a new initiative that will create jobs for youth ages 16-23 from two high-risk neighborhoods within the City of St. Louis. This program will help lay the foundation for social, career, and academic growth for youth. The DollarWise SYC grant will help STL Youth Jobs conduct outreach to the parents of participants. The program will make a special effort to offer them information and workshops on financial literacy and training. The Mayor’s Office has established a working relationship with the Financial Planning Association of Greater St. Louis, bringing no-cost advice and resources to adult jobseekers. Support from DollarWise SYC grant will be applied toward the expansion of this successful collaboration and the development of family financial planning sessions through a hands-on, data-driven approach.
Kokomo (IN) Mayor Greg Goodnight
The City of Kokomo’s Summer Youth Employment Program will allow approximately 60 youth, ages 15-21, the opportunity to participate in a structured financial literacy program. The youth selected will work as a cohort of seasonal employees at Kokomo Beach, the City of Kokomo’s municipal swimming pool. The goal of the program is to teach the participants about responsible money management. Each participant will have the opportunity to open a free savings and checking account with the City of Firsts Credit Union. The credit union has agreed to provide a financial incentive for participants to save as much money as possible during their summer jobs. These incentives include the credit union adding $10 to each participant’s account for every $100 saved. Participants will be required to participate in an orientation and financial literacy session led by credit union officials. The DollarWise Summer Youth Campaign Grant will enable the program to provide more engaging financial literacy curricula by partnering with Indiana University at Kokomo’s Enactus Club. Enactus is an award-winning, student-run organization with the mission of helping others understand free enterprise. Through Enactus, the City of Kokomo’s SYEP will offer university student-led sessions exploring real-world, relevant financial literacy topics.
Chester (PA) Mayor John Linder
The City of Chester’s EPI Program provides six-week, paid summer internship opportunities for youth ages 16 to 21. The program facilitates both hands-on work experience as well as a complementary professional development series. Working a total of 20 hours per week, interns spend 16 hours at their assigned work sites and the remaining 4 hours in interactive professional development workshops. During these weekly seminars, interns gain a thorough understanding of 21st Century Skills including: Initiative & Self-Direction, Accountability & Productivity, Flexibility & Adaptability, and Teamwork & Collaboration. The DollarWise SYC grant will be used to incorporate the skills previously taught during program lectures (maintaining credit health, balancing a budget, etc.) into an interactive assignment called “The Game of Life.” With this assignment, interns will be given a set of life circumstances, including budgeting and personal finance, which will be subject to change throughout the span of their internship. At the end, interns will present their individual financial journeys, and the strategies they used, to overcome the obstacles that they encountered.
Richmond (CA) Mayor Gayle McLaughlin
The City of Richmond’s Summer Youth Employment Program will implement its 9th annual community supported summer jobs initiative. Participants have the opportunity to work up to 100 hours, at $8 per hour, in a local business, corporation, or non-profit organization. Youth are matched to an employer through various assessments used by the program to gauge ability and interest. All participants go through six mandatory, pre-employment workshops that include: an academic assessment, a career assessment, money management/financial literacy, sexual harassment, "soft" skills, and resume production. In 2012, eleven donors funded 263 placements with 44 employers at over 70 worksites. The DollarWise SYC grant will be used to implement incentive-based innovations into the current program to increase participants’ savings with Mechanics Bank, one of the program’s partners. Funding will be used to offset staff costs for administering the program. Funding will also be used to create promotional material that will be distributed at the time of the workshops, as well as inserted into all participant paychecks distributed throughout the program. The remaining funds will serve as cash-match incentives for saving.
2013 Summer Youth Jobs Contest
Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake presenting an award to a 2012 contest winner.
During summer of 2012, mayors partnered with The U.S. Conference of Mayors’ DollarWise Campaign and Workforce Development Council to launch its 2012 Summer Youth Jobs Contest. DollarWise worked closely with Mayors across the country.To participate, youth were required to go online to bedollarwise.org/syc and complete a set of brief financial education modules. Completing these modules automatically entered youth into a weekly raffle, held every Friday from June 22nd, until July 27th. Three participants each week were picked to win an assortment of prizes including iPads, Kindles, and iPod Shuffles. Cities and summer youth jobs programs across the United States were invited to participate in the contest in an effort to promote financial education in summer youth jobs. Over seven hundred youth from eighty-nine cities participated in the contest. DollarWise selected winners from fourteen different cities across the United States.Mayors of participating cities encouraged programs to participate, and personally presented prizes won by participants in the Summer Youth Jobs Contest. Corpus Christi Mayor Joe Adame, Little Rock Mayor Mark Stodola, Akron Mayor Don Plusquellic, Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings, North Miami Beach Mayor George Vallejo, Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings Blake, Wichita Mayor Carl Brewer,and Boston Mayor Thomas Menino. This summer, DollarWise aims to double the number of participants and cities that were involved in 2012. Please contact the DollarWise Campaign with questions on how to participate!
Seizing the Teachable Moment
DollarWise recommends these steps to introduce personal finance to summer youth:
OrientationIt is essential that you reach youth at orientation. Once they disperse to their various jobs for the summer, it is difficult to reconvene them.
Ongoing Financial Education
Ideally, financial education will be delivered to youth throughout the summer.
This event could be a financial education fair or an assembly with entertainment.
Ideas for Success
- Involve the mayor.
- Have all youth participating in your program and receiving a paycheck open a bank account.
- Work with your local financial institutions.
- Have all youth participants sign a pledge to set aside a certain percentage or dollar amount from each paycheck in a checking or savings account. [link to PDF pledge forms]
- Use the theme “Save a Dollar a Day.” It is an achievable way to encourage contributions to savings and preparation for the future.
Incentives for YouthCities may find more success if they provide modest incentives to youth. Here are some ideas.
- Offer to match youths’ savings.
- Provide youth who complete a financial education curriculum a reasonable bonus at the end of their summer employment.
- Withhold all or a portion of a youth’s final paycheck until he/she completes the financial education component of the program.
- Provide entertainment incentives, such as free movie tickets or passes to the local amusement park.