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Minnesota Department of Commerce celebrates Financial Literacy Month in April, Kicks Off Statewide Outreach Efforts

April 01, 2013

Unprecedented partnership working to empower and prepare Minnesotans of all ages for financial success

ST. PAUL, MN – The Minnesota Department of Commerce is once again 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 Minnesota Financial Literacy Interagency Work Group will work to empower tens of thousands of Minnesota youth, students, soldiers, families, and senior citizens to learn more about their finances and make informed decisions to secure a successful financial future.
“Financial literacy makes a big difference between a struggling family and a thriving one,” said Commerce Commissioner Mike Rothman. “It is critical that Minnesotans are educated from Kindergarten to retirement on how to make the best financial decisions for themselves and their families.”
Governor Mark Dayton today issued a proclamation declaring April to be Financial Literacy Month in Minnesota. 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.
In January 2012, Commissioner Rothman convened the first of its kind Minnesota Interagency Financial Literacy 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.
This coalition has continued to collaborate 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. 
Youth Week

The first week of Financial Literacy Month will focus on teaching kids about the importance of saving and teachable moments such as opening a first bank account. Throughout the week, The Department of Education’s Readit will share with students the importance of financial literacy by learning how to budget & open a bank account. Commissioner Rothman will visit Tartan Senior High School and observe peer-to-peer Financial Literacy presentations conducted by DECA students. While at Tartan, Commissioner Rothman will tour the student branch of the Postal Credit Union at the high school, the only exclusively student-run credit union branch in Minnesota. The Department of Revenue and MDE will team up to discuss the availability of the K-12 Tax Credit. Additionally, another event will highlight the 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. Once again, the Minnesota Department of Commerce is partnering with the Minnesota Twins in launching a statewide essay contest for elementary students.

Higher Education Week

The following week will focus on higher education, student loans, and financial aid – including Twitter chat hosted by Office of Higher Education (OHE) focused on planning for college. OHE will discuss rising tuition costs and the use of budget planning as well as the use of technology to help students plan for their post-secondary education. The Department of Human Services is teaming up with Family Means to provide credit and financial education for transition-age foster youth. The Department of Commerce will visit the University of St. Thomas to learn about successful partnerships between college-aged youth and nonprofits in financial literacy education. Finally, the Department of Revenue and the Commerce Department has planned multiple events for Spanish-speaking high school youth to discuss wise use of credit, budgeting, and finances as they plan for their future - along with tax related topics.

Families Week

The third week of Financial Literacy Month will focus on families and features a Virtual Town Hall with Minnesota Department of Human Rights Commissioner Kevin Lindsey to discuss predatory lending, payday loans, and services available to lower-income families. Later in the week, Commissioner Rothman and Housing Finance Commissioner Mary Tingerthal in a partnership with the Minnesota Homeownership Center will celebrate the launch of Framework, an innovative and interactive tool designed to guide first time homebuyers through the process of buying a home. The Department of Military Affairs, will hold family Financial Literacy 101 classes and focus on a financial literacy boot camp at the 30-60-90 day integration this week. The Department of Corrections will shine a light on the need for financial education for families in transition.

Seniors Week

Seniors Week will start in Duluth with a forum focused on senior fraud at Ecumen Lakeshore with Lieutenant Governor Yvonne Prettner Solon and Commerce Commissioner Rothman. Commissioner Rothman will join Senator Metzen and Representative Joe Atkins in Inver Grove Heights to will provide seniors with a legislative update and discussion surrounding senior financial literacy issues. The annual Jump$tart Financial Literacy Event will also take place this week.

Financial Literacy Roundtable

Financial Literacy Month will conclude with the 3rd 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 collaborative work to advance financial literacy in Minnesota and will focus on a specific vision for progress.

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.