An innovative partnership to teach money-management skills
to students launched this week between a southern Ohio district and a local
credit union.

The Atomic Credit Union
is establishing student-operated credit unions in the three elementary schools
in the Jackson
City School District
. The credit union offers free savings accounts for
children that feature no fees or minimum balance requirements. The credit union
will provide the first $2 deposit for each student who opens an account and
students may then deposit as little as one cent at a time – to ensure that all
students can participate, regardless of their family finances. One day a week
will be designated as “credit union day” in the schools when students can make
transactions, and fifth-grade students will learn real-world job skills working
in the school credit union.

Union President and CEO Tom Griffiths told the local Telegram
"For our children to be growing up and experiencing the worst economic
times our country has seen since the Great Depression, I cannot think of a
better ‘educational vehicle’ than that of a student-run financial

The average household carries more than $10,000 in credit
card debt
and college tuition continues to rise (in fact, Sec. Duncan and
Vice President Biden are talking college affordability in
Columbus today
). People – especially in areas like southern Ohio, where
unemployment rates still top 10 percent – need to learn how to save and manage
money. If this partnership can help achieve that, it would be terrific to see
it expand to other schools in the area.

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