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Allison Ball: Northern Kentucky University innovative in advancing financial literacy in the Commonwealth

As State Treasurer, I have worked to tackle difficult problems facing our Commonwealth with two things in mind. First, I believe it is important that leaders think outside the box and pursue innovative solutions to problems they are facing. Second, I believe that it is important that solutions are fiscally responsible.

When innovation and fiscal responsibility are combined, they produce lasting results.

In Kentucky, we are facing a financial literacy crisis. Many Kentuckians have never been trained in the basics of money management. Over the past three years, we have made great strides in tackling this problem head-on with innovative and fiscally responsible policies.

In 2018, I advocated for HB 132, which established a financial literacy high school graduation requirement and allows schools to meet that requirement through a course or program. I also established the first-of-its-kind Kentucky Financial Empowerment Database, providing financial literacy resources to Kentuckians from all walks of life, but particularly educators implementing the requirements of HB 132.

Most recently, I championed HB 139, the Kentucky Financial Empowerment Commission Bill.

The bill, which was signed into law last month, is both innovative and fiscally responsible. The Commission will bring financial literacy stakeholders, including representatives from education and financial institutions, together to address the financial literacy crisis facing our Commonwealth, but especially our youth. It will be funded without the use of taxpayer dollars thanks to a partnership I secured with the Kentucky credit unions.

Photo from NKU’s Center for Economic Education.

These two important hallmarks, innovation and fiscal responsibility, are present in a program launched by Northern Kentucky University’s Center for Economic Education (CEE). CEE announced an Economics and Financial Literacy Micro-Credential for educators across the Commonwealth to address the standards established by HB 132’s high school graduation requirement. The Economics and Financial Literacy Micro-Credential provides participants with six hours of education through two courses. The Micro-Credential includes training on financial literacy concepts and content and pedagogical training to prepare teachers to teach financial literacy.

CEE’s new Micro-Credential is certainly innovative as it, too, is a first-of-its-kind program in Kentucky. The course is also taught entirely online, which broadens the access to educators across our Commonwealth.

Importantly, participation in the program will also be a fiscally responsible move for school districts, as educators who participate in the program will not only leave with an understanding of the newly established standards, but they will also be eligible to apply to teach NKU’s financial literacy course to their students for dual credit. NKU also offers scholarships to educators as another means of making the program affordable for Kentucky’s school districts.

As we continue pushing towards a more financially empowered Kentucky, I am proud to see innovation and fiscal responsibility infused into this progress. I applaud Northern Kentucky University’s Center for Economic Education for establishing a program to address an important need in an inventive way that will allow school districts to get the most use out of their dollars.

Allison Ball is state treasurer of Kentucky.

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