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Financial Literacy Task Force Releases Action Plan To Get Vermonters Out Of Financial Funk

Burlington, Vt. (Dec. 18, 2014) - Vermont's Financial Literacy Task Force has released a report, "Vermont's Financial Literacy Action Plan," with recommendations aimed at strengthening Vermonters' financial futures. The group, created through the Champlain College Center for Financial Literacy, developed 13 actionable solutions that will lead to an increase in the financial well being of citizens across the state.

"When it comes to ‘money smarts,' far too many Vermonters aren't making the grade," said Bob Allen, Windham Foundation president/CEO and task force chairman. "We have the opportunity to help lift our friends and neighbors out of financial turmoil. The time to take action is now."

"Vermont's Financial Literacy Action Plan" includes a series of recommendations aimed at legislators, educators, policymakers and business and non-profit leaders to drive change to provide Vermonters with the knowledge, tools and training needed to take control of their financial lives. The recommendations will engage Vermont and its citizens in updating outdated personal finance standards in schools, offering more robust financial literacy learning opportunities in colleges, and providing adults with financial literacy education opportunities. The recommendations are:

From the Entire Task Force:

  • Establish a Vermont Financial Literacy Commission with representation from business, education, government and nonprofit organizations.

From the K-12 Committee:

  • Update Vermont's existing personal economics and career choices education standards to be more consistent with highly regarded national and international financial literacy standards that have been adopted by many states.
  • Ensure that all Vermont high school students have access to a personal finance course.
  • Provide personal finance training opportunities to K-12 educators.
  • Create an online clearinghouse of vetted and trusted financial literacy resources for Vermont K-12 educators.
  • Establish financial literacy grants for K-12 schools and supervisory unions to launch new or materially enhanced financial literacy education programs.

From the College Committee ("college" in these recommendations refers to all postsecondary institutions in Vermont):

  • Offer access to robust financial literacy education opportunities to all Vermont college students.
  • Create a Financial Literacy Resource and Training Center for all colleges in the state to use.
  • Develop a partnership among all Vermont colleges to create a Virtual Career Center.
  • Create a pilot Child Savings Account Program.

From the Adult Committee:

  • Provide adults with a wide variety of personal finance learning opportunities, when and how they need them.
  • Increase the opportunities and incentives for low-income Vermonters to save and build assets.
  • Increase the percentage of Vermont employees who are saving for retirement.

In late April 2014, John Pelletier, Champlain College's director of the Center for Financial Literacy, gathered 20 distinguished Vermonters with a deep interest in the financial future of their fellow citizens. The group was further divided into three discrete committees to address financial literacy in schools, colleges and the workplace. Over the past six months, the committees have met regularly, racking up 400 collective hours, to deliver actionable and impactful solutions, which were adopted by the entire task force.

The Vermont Financial Literacy Task Force, which is composed of state leaders with diverse backgrounds in education, government, business and nonprofit sectors, includes:

Chair-Bob Allen, President & CEO, Windham Foundation

K-12 Committee

  • Chair-Linda Tarr-Whelan, Consultant; former Distinguished Senior Fellow, Demos; former Ambassador
  • Kevin Christie, Representative, Vermont Legislature, and Member, House Education Committee; Chair, Hartford School District Board
  • John Fischer, Deputy Secretary, Vermont Agency of Education
  • Daniel French, Superintendent, Bennington-Rutland Supervisory Union
  • Keith Gerritt, Retired Principal, U-32 Middle and High School
  • Lisa Helme, Director, Financial Literacy & Communications, Vermont State Treasurer's Office
  • Juliette Longchamp, Director, Professional Programs, Vermont-NEA
  • Art Woolf, Associate Professor, University of Vermont; President, Vermont Council on Economic Education

College Committee

  • Chair-Scott Giles, President & CEO, Vermont Student Assistance Corporation
  • Kelley Beckwith, Director, Academic Support Center, Castleton State College
  • Pamela A. Chisholm, Dean of Enrollment Services, Community College of Vermont
  • David Provost, Senior Vice President for Finance & Administration, Champlain College
  • John Ryan, Director of Institutional Research, University of Vermont

Adult Committee

  • Chair-Bob Allen, President & CEO, Windham Foundation
  • Paul Dragon, Chief Administrator, Office of Economic Opportunity, Department for Children and Families, Vermont Agency of Human Services
  • Lisa Falcone, Working Bridges Project Director, United Way of Chittenden County 
  • Susan Leonard, Senior Vice President/Chief Financial Officer, New England Federal Credit Union (NEFCU)
  • Mary Niebling, Director, Community Economic Development, Capstone Community Action
  • Martha Reid, State Librarian, Vermont Department of Libraries
  • Sean Woodroffe, Senior Vice President & Chief People Officer, National Life Group

The work of the task force was managed by John Pelletier, director of Champlain College's Center for Financial Literacy.

The Vermont Financial Literacy Task Force is supported through generous grants from the following organizations:

Association of Vermont Credit Unions, Champlain Investment Partners, Hanson & Doremus Investment Management, KPMG, National Life Group, NEFCU (New England Federal Credit Union), TD Bank, United Way of Chittenden County, Vermont Association of Realtors, Vermont Business Roundtable, Vermont Student Assistance Corporation, the Windham Foundation and various private donors.

To read the complete plan, please visit www.financialfunkvt.org


About the Center for Financial Literacy
Champlain College's Center for Financial Literacy is nationally acclaimed, one-of-a-kind program aimed at increasing knowledge of money matters in classrooms across the country, ensure college students graduate with the skills to make sound decisions about spending, credit and investments, and help adults navigate difficult financial situations like buying a home and saving for retirement. A partnership among several financial institutions, non-profit entities and governmental agencies, its goals are to promote and develop financial literacy skills in K-12 students, college students, teachers (K-12 and college) and adults, and advocate for financial education opportunities at the local, state and national level

About Champlain College

Founded in 1878, Champlain College is a small, not-for-profit, private college in Burlington, Vermont, with additional campuses in Montreal, Quebec and Dublin, Ireland. Champlain offers a traditional undergraduate experience from its beautiful campus overlooking Lake Champlain and over 60 online undergraduate and graduate degree programs and certificates. Champlain's distinctive career-driven approach to higher education embodies the notion that true learning occurs when information and experience come together to create knowledge. Champlain College is included in the Princeton Review's The Best 379 Colleges: 2015 Edition. Champlain was named a "Top-Up-and-Coming School" by U.S. News & World Report's America's Best Colleges and is ranked in the top tier of 2014 Regional Colleges in the North. For more information, visit www.champlain.edu.