Educated Workforce Series Showcases K-12 Financial Literacy Efforts
Financial literacy is a key index for the future success of children across metro Atlanta as they enter adulthood. The region is already home to several innovative partnerships and efforts aimed at giving students an education in economic concepts; however, there is more to be done. The Metro Atlanta Chamber Educated Workforce series recently highlighted one of these partnerships between a major player in Georgia’s renowned international film industry and Georgia Public Broadcasting.
Bri McMillan, vice president of operations for Blackhall Studios, opened the meeting discussing the necessity for public and private partnerships across all industries to tackle financial literacy.
“Our partnerships in education give people in the state an opportunity in the [film] industry, and we like to keep the industry in Georgia,” McMillin said. “When people are educated here, they stay and work here.”
Financial literacy is a necessary asset for young adults in the region, especially later as they begin to enter the workforce.
“We’re giving our children a positive jumpstart into adulthood,” McMillin said.
Georgia Public Broadcasting offers many resources to children and teachers in the state in all areas of education. Director of Education Laura Evans shared with the group how GPB is innovating in teacher and student online content.
“We’re the only state in the country that provides free access to Discovery Education, representing a huge savings for teachers and students across the state,” Evans said. “Our content development team [at GPB] takes great pride in looking at education technology trends and learning how we can be ahead of the curve.”
One such innovation is through the interactive game Lights, Camera, Budget! produced by GPB with the Georgia Council on Economic Education. The online game – designed to help middle and high school students learn, study and review financial topics – positions students as the producers for their own feature film based in the region. Council Associate Director and Chief Program Officer Dr. Chris Cannon shared the process student’s experience by playing the game, replicating some of the same questions a film producer must consider like catering, hiring, site selection, staffing of set crew, and even marketing.
“We are big about teaching decision making with scarce resources,” Dr. Cannon said. “You have to use cost-benefit analyses [to win].”
John Hancock, president and CEO with Junior Achievement of Georgia later hosted a panel with Dr. Cannon, McMillan and Delta Community Credit Union Vice President of Business & Community Development Jai Rogers.
“We have a focus on financial education. When we started our schools program, we focused on high school students and getting to know our local school systems,” Rogers said. “We now work with elementary schools, and we have started engaging with Junior Achievement to connect with middle schools.”
GPB Education recently hit several milestones, including 7.2 million times content was accessed by students and teachers last school year, 1,996 overall outreach visits to schools statewide, and more than 7,000 educators taking part in trainings.
“We’re boots on the ground with the teachers. Think of the best teacher you’ve had – we want them to be your economics teachers, and to do that, they need training,” Dr. Cannon said.
Blackhall Studios also provides hands-on opportunities for Georgia’s educators and students.
“We partner with our schools and provide tours and education to teachers and students,” McMillin said. “The film industry is all about budgeting. We hope to encourage our students that this is an industry they should go for.”
There remains progress to be made in teaching financial literacy to K-12 students across the region. You can get involved by introducing students and teachers to GPB Education at www.gpb.org/education.
“This is our next generation. It’s so important that [Gen Z and others] know the value of money,” Rogers said.
For more information on the Metro Atlanta Chamber Educated Workforce series, please contact Tim Cairl.