SAINT PAUL, MN – Kicking off an unprecedented statewide outreach effort, Governor Mark Dayton today issued a proclamation declaring April to be Financial Literacy Month in Minnesota. In nearly 40 outreach events across Minnesota over the next four weeks, the state’s newly founded Interagency Work Group on Financial Literacy will work to empower tens of thousands of Minnesota students, soldiers, families, and senior citizens to learn more about their finances and make informed decisions to secure a successful financial future.
Governor Dayton noted in his proclamation that, “Providing all Minnesotans the tools to make informed choices and avoid pitfalls helps improve their financial security.”
Over the last year, the Dayton Administration has renewed state government’s commitment to advancing the cause of financial literacy in Minnesota. Strengthening programs, outreach efforts, and key partnerships with stakeholders, state agencies have been working together across the administration to make Minnesota a nation-leading force for financial education and empowerment.
“Countless Minnesotans struggle with daily financial hardships and the stress of stretching every dollar,” said Commerce Commissioner Mike Rothman. “It has never been more important to give Minnesotans from Kindergarten to retirement the help they need on financial decisions at every stage of life.”
In January, Commissioner Rothman convened a first-of-its-kind Minnesota Financial Literacy Interagency Work Group comprised of commissioners and representatives from ten state agencies. Participating agencies include the Minnesota Departments of Commerce, Corrections, Education, Employment and Economic Development, Higher Education, Housing Finance, Human Rights, Human Services, Military Affairs, and Revenue.
Working together, this new coalition is collaborating with non-profits, local governments, private enterprises, and financial institutions to celebrate progress already achieved, form new and effective partnerships, and draw a roadmap for tangible action into the future. One key component of those efforts is Financial Literacy Month, including the nearly 40 outreach events planned over the course of the next four weeks.
From launching a statewide essay contest for elementary students with the Minnesota Twins, to highlighting new efforts to provide financial education for foster youth, to helping youth in transition, the first week of Financial Literacy Month will focus on teaching kids about the importance of saving. Additionally, another event will highlight a partnership with Junior Achievement, the Minnesota Department of Education, and Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development that engages young students in a hands-on financial literacy environment called Biz Town.
Higher Education Week
The following week will focus on higher education, student loans, and financial aid – including a student debt forum at the University of Minnesota hosted by Governor Mark Dayton, U.S. Senator Al Franken, U of M President Erik Kaler, and Office of Higher Education Director Larry Pogemiller. Other events in the second week of Financial Literacy Month will provide financial training for inmates and their families at correctional facilities across the state, engage Minnesotans in dialogue about homeownership, and provide a culturally competent learning opportunity for communities of color and immigrant populations in Forest Lake.
The third week of Financial Literacy Month will focus on families, starting with a Financial Literacy Boot Camp for members of the Minnesota National Guard statewide. Homeownership forums, DEED workforce center tours, VITA site tours, and brown bag seminars for state employees are also scheduled for Families Week. In addition, Commerce Commissioner Mike Rothman, Housing Commissioner Mary Tingerthal, and Human Rights Commissioner Kevin Lindsey will hold a community forum on predatory lending in St. Paul.
Seniors Week will start bright and early on Monday morning at the Mall of America where Commerce Commissioner Rothman, Lieutenant Governor Yvonne Prettner Solon, and the AARP are sponsoring the Mall Walk to Stop Fraud with more than 100 senior citizens. The Commerce Department will celebrate a successful cross-generational mentorship program in which Minnesota seniors mentor students for financial success. Later in the week, Commissioner Rothman will train geriatrics doctors how to spot financial abuse in their elderly patients. The annual Jump$tart Financial Literacy Event will also take place this week.
Financial Literacy Roundtable
Financial Literacy Month will conclude with the 2nd Annual Financial Literacy Roundtable sponsored by the Interagency Work Group on Financial Literacy. Roughly 200 stakeholder groups from non-profits, local governments, private enterprises, and financial institutions have been invited to participate. The roundtable will take place at Neighborhood House in St. Paul. The event will celebrate ongoing work to advance financial literacy in Minnesota, and host brainstorm sessions for action steps to build on that progress in 2012 and beyond.
More information about Financial Literacy Month, including a calendar of events and tips for Minnesota consumers can be found on the Minnesota Department of Commerce website.