Rutgers Cooperative Extension and the New Jersey Coalition for Financial Education recently launched the Hard Core Financial Education Boot Camp website that provides financial education subject matter training for teachers and other professionals who teach financial literacy and deliver financial education programs. The website is a repository of videotaped presentations from the Hard Core Financial Education Boot Camp program, which was held at the Rutgers YES Center in Newark, NJ, in July. Barbara O'Neill, extension specialist in financial resource management with Rutgers New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station, and colleagues felt that there was a real need for this training. "A study conducted in 2009 by the University of Wisconsin-Madison found that many teachers who are expected to teach personal finance had never taken a formal college course and lacked knowledge and confidence to teach financial topics, especially insurance and investing," said O'Neill.
"Hard Core Financial Education Boot Camp fills this void by providing instruction that teachers worldwide can access for free at any time," she added.
The boot camp program is a rigorous personal finance training program for financial educators on advanced topics. The program conducted in July was the third training session in the series of Financial Education Boot Camp programs and followed Financial Education Boot Camp Levels I and II. Sponsored by the New Jersey Coalition for Financial Education in cooperation with Rutgers Cooperative Extension, the program received financial support from Citi Community Development.
The boot camp website includes three presentations on subject matter content topics like investing, credit, and insurance. It also includes two presentations on math applications in personal finance as well as interviews with program organizers and the teachers who are the program participants. The teachers interviewed and featured on the website provide advice to other teachers on ways to teach financial literacy and to describe creative ways that they use to teach personal finance to their students.
Program providers, like O'Neill who taught several components of the boot camp, have high hopes that the instruction will have a positive impact. "If 50 of the 67 participants in the boot camp reach just 20 students each, then 1,000 students will have received much needed information that gets them thinking about financial literacy," said O'Neill.
While it is geared to teachers and how to teach financial literacy, the website can also be used by consumers who are interested in learning more about personal finance, she explained. Users can view the videotaped presentations in any order and still get the full benefit of the training.
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