When only 17 percent of U.S. teens claim to know a lot about managing money, and 24 percent don’t know the difference between debit and credit, corrective action must be taken. A West Virginia training seminar aims to change these statistics.

For the 10th consecutive year, the West Virginia University College of Business and Economics will team up with the West Virginia State Auditor’s Office and the West Virginia Jump$tart Coalition to present Finance University, a best practices conference where high school educators learn personal finance — and how to teach it to their students. This year, the seminar will be held July 23-27 at the Charleston Conference Center in Charleston, W.Va.

Conference organizers said 40 middle and high school teachers from across the state have registered for the event, where they will hear a number of seminars from financial and investment experts. The seminar satisfies part of the Personal Finance Education Specialist Advanced Credential as prescribed by the West Virginia Department of Education. Educators have the opportunity to take the course for professional development credit.

Participants will be offered two tracks: a basic track for first time participants and an advanced course for repeat attenders. Dr. William Riley, WVU College of Business and Economics Chair of Finance, will teach the course, which prepares educators to teach their students a variety of personal finance topics, such as credit card use, saving and investing, insurance, retirement plans and more.

“The idea is that you need to start talking about personal finance in middle school and high school and teach the students how to make good financial decisions,” said Riley. “In order for students to understand the importance of personal finance in their lives, you’ve got to get teachers using this in the classroom. There are many reasons to understand personal finance, and the earlier the better.”

Dr. Riley has been with Finance University from its inception in 2003, along with West Virginia State Auditor Glen B. Gainer, III. This year more than 15 financial experts will speak, including Larry Pnakovich, Senior Investigator at the West Virginia State Auditor’s Office; Bill Cheeks, President of ABBA Associates and expert on fiscal management; John Meeks, community affairs liaison at the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC); and Orlando Hanselman, education programs director at Fiserv.

In addition to finance education, attendees will be given a tour of the State Capitol, the West Virginia Cultural Center, Governor’s Mansion and the House Chamber. Participants will receive certification upon seminar completion.

Finance University was developed by the West Virginia State Auditor’s Office and partners of the West Virginia Jump$tart Coalition in 2003. Since that time, more than 200 teachers from all over West Virginia have attended the seminar. Finance University has been recognized as a “Best Practice” for teacher training programs by the U.S. Financial Literacy and Education Commission.

The West Virginia Jump$tart Coalition is a state chapter of the national Jump$tart Coalition for Personal Financial Literacy, a nonprofit organization based in Washington, D.C., whose main interest is advancing financial literacy among students in pre-k through college. The Coalition is made up of 150 national organizations from the corporate, academic, government and non-profit sectors.



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