TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTWO/WAWV) — Financial literacy is an important skill for students and young people to learn before they graduate into adulthood, and the United Way of the Wabash Valley is trying to help Vigo County students do just that.

UWWV recently granted the Vigo County School Corporation a total of $67,270 through their Financial Management Council to bolster the corporation’s financial skills training program.

According to the council, financial coaching and income management are important skills to help break the cycle of poverty and assist in the United Way’s goal of moving 10,000 families out of financial struggles and into stability.

Financial skills training for teenagers is timely and relevant because many students often begin working and collecting their first paychecks in high school. As teens prepare for post-secondary education or entering the workforce, they need a solid foundation of financial management skills.

United Way of the Wabash Valley press release

Numerous organizations applied for the grant funding, but after careful evaluation, the UWWV chose the VCSC’s plan to implement a Junior Achievement Finance Park capstone curriculum for personal financial planning and career exploration.

In the program, High School students spend multiple days learning about how education and career choices will impact their quality of life. This includes saving and investing, debit and credit, and establishing a financial plan. Students then test what they have learned in a life-like simulation. They choose a career, receive a persona, earn a paycheck, maybe have a family, set a monthly budget, shop according to the budget, and pay bills. At the end of the simulation, they will have financial skills that will help them make decisions to live free of financial struggles.

The funding from United Way will allow a reported 300 students to participate in the program during the 2022-2023 school year.

VCSC will initially offer the program to JAG (Jobs for America’s Graduates) students in the Wabash Valley and alternative high school students including Booker T. Washington and Vigo Virtual Success Academy, but will expand to offer the programming to more students and other school corporations in future years.

United Way of the Wabash Valley press release

“With this grant award, the United Way of the Wabash Valley is making an investment in financial planning education and career exploration for the Wabash Valley youth,” Director of Career/Technical Education at VCSC Doug Dillon said. “The Vigo County School Corporation and Junior Achievement are excited about providing this new opportunity to our youth and helping equip students with the tools needed to make good fiscal and career decisions as they transition into adulthood.”