News Release Distributed 4/28/05
BATON ROUGE – "We encourage youth to accumulate wealth and not debt," Ken Uffman, president and CEO emeritus of the Credit Bureau of Baton Rouge, told Louisiana legislators at Youth Financial Day at the Capitol Thursday (April 28).
The event, sponsored by the Louisiana Jump$tart Coalition, was held in part to thank the legislature for passing Act 296, which requires that free enterprise courses in Louisiana high schools include instruction in personal finance, said Gail Psilos, community relations manager with the Federal Reserve Bank in New Orleans.
The coalition wants to teach youth "how to budget, how to save, how to become credit card savvy and how to bank," said Psilos, chairperson of the committee that arranged the event.
The Louisiana organization has raised more than $70,000 to train teachers through workshops and provides free curriculum materials and stipends to teachers who attend.
Under the direction of LSU AgCenter faculty members Dr. Jeanette Tucker and Dr. Ann Berry, the AgCenter conducts the workshops for teacher training.
LSU AgCenter specialists and agents have provided the training for more than 400 Louisiana teachers, reaching nearly 36,000 students, said Tucker, an LSU AgCenter family economist.
Uffman said the LSU AgCenter is a significant partner in the state program. "They have become an important resource," he said.
Organized in January 1999, the Louisiana coalition represents the public and private organizations involved in finance, business, education, securities, consumer science, banking and consumer education.
"Louisiana is one of the strongest coalitions," said Nancy Brown, regional director for the western states for the national Jump$tart organization. "The Louisiana legislation is a model for the people."
Rep. Carl Crain, R-Baton Rouge, said financial literacy programs are important, both in elementary and high schools and in colleges and universities, particularly teacher education programs.
The Louisiana Jump$tart program, which uses no public funding, is supported by a grant from the J.P. Morgan Chase Foundation.