When Jason Warren, Principal of Greenville Senior High School, contacted the Greenville Federal Credit Union in 2016, he wanted to provide his students with real-life experiences by introducing a fully functioning credit union branch in the school. Five years later, the success of the program has exceeded all expectations. Fully operated by high school students, “The Branch at Greenville High” provides students with the opportunity to gain valuable work experience and meet their personal banking needs within the school.
âThe opportunity for our students to be trained as employees of credit unions and to gain first-hand experience in a professional environment is invaluable,â says Warren, who identified a former teachers’ fair as the location. to create the branch. Conveniently located next to the cafeteria, the credit union worked with construction and design partners to completely renovate the space. Now he is advancing the district’s goals of preparing students for college and careers by providing the “soft skills” that come with real-world banking and job training.
Provide opportunities for high school students
Greenville Federal Credit Union works with the high school to provide training for students during the summers. Students are trained at a local branch through a paid summer training program, in which students work side-by-side with cashiers to learn about transaction processing, security, protection against fraud and professional responsibilities. As school begins, students open the high school branch to open accounts and process transactions for students, teachers, and staff.
âA lot of kids want to have their own account and a debit card to relax their independence a bit,â says Catherine James, senior vice president of marketing and branding at Greenville Federal Credit Union. âMany of them have after-school jobs and need to be able to put their money in a safe place and use a checking account. The high school branch allows these students to learn basic banking from the comfort of their school – surrounded by students, teachers and staff who can help them make responsible decisions.
Students who run the branch receive specialty level course credit and give presentations to business classes on the basics of personal finance, including why having a bank account is important and how credit and loans work. Business operations provide experience opportunities and lessons in marketing strategy by advertising the services and educating the student body on what âThe Branchâ has to offer.
The program ‘completely changed my life’
One student, Thomora Mosely, worked in the high school branch in its early days and the experience set her on the path to success.
âA high school internship completely changed my life. When I was 17, I was offered a position to work at The Branch at Greenville High School. I was nervous but excited to start working in a professional environment; I was so young and only had experience in the food industry, âMosely says. âIt was not easy; however, once the summer program began, the employees of the Greenville Federal Credit Union greeted our group as if we were family. At the end of the internship at the end of the summer I was offered a permanent part-time cashier position. By working at the caisse, I acquired many professional qualities and learned to communicate effectively. In four short years, I became a full-time specialist member. I really appreciate the Greenville Federal Credit Union and appreciate everyone who has helped me advance in my career.
In the first five years, 41 students completed the training program and worked in the Greenville High branch. Eight, including Mosely, were subsequently hired by the Greenville Federal Credit Union as part-time or full-time employees. Some students have been inspired to pursue financial careers, and as the first group of the program graduates from college, a few graduate with accounting or marketing degrees.
The Greenville Federal Credit Union’s Ongoing Commitment to Education
When the Greenville Federal Credit Union was founded in 1968, it served as a credit union for educators. In 2001, the credit union became a community credit union, but maintained its commitment to supporting local schools, teachers, staff and students. âWe have always been committed to uplifting educators, students and families,â says Catherine James. âWe created The Branch at Greenville High School because our mission is to help our members and our community achieve financial well-being and prosperity. “
This commitment extends to the next generation, and helping students familiarize themselves with the banking experience while in high school can lead to more responsible financial decisions down the road. Principal Warren said, âThis is a perfect opportunity for our students that could not exist without the support of a business partner like the Greenville Federal Credit Union. For the Credit Union and Greenville High School, this program has been an incredible success, and the development of more experienced and better educated students who come out of high school is a victory for the community as a whole.
greenvillefcu.com â¢ 800.336.6309