Edward Jones Gives Financial Fitness Presentation at STLCC Black Male Achievers Academy
It’s no secret that employment and earnings levels are linked to educational achievement. Statistics compiled by organizations such as the National Center for Education Statistics and the Education Trust have shown that fewer African American males enroll and graduate from higher education institutions than other demographic groups.
To help reverse the disparities, St. Louis Community College initiated its Black Male Achievers Academy. BMAA’s aim is to increase recruitment and retention of African American male students at the College and to engage them as they transition to their first semester of college. The program currently includes two cohorts of students at the Florissant Valley and Forest Park campuses.
BMAA includes comprehensive access to tutoring, mentoring and personal and professional development, career pathway research and four-year college or university planning. The program includes wraparound support services to address academic and external needs such as free access to equipment and supplies, transportation vouchers, food assistance, and more. Students receive an academic scholarship for up to two academic years. They are supported in seeking an associate degree for transfer or a career path in technical education that leads to a job in their chosen field.
BMAA started in summer 2021. The experience included discussions focused on career options, financial fitness and social justice.
Representatives from Edward Jones made a special presentation to the students on July 26. Roger Macon and Madison Smith, financial advisors with Edward Jones, presented “Financial Fitness: Power of Budgeting” on the importance of creating and maintaining a budget, differences between wants and needs, and setting goals for spending, savings, and repaying debt.
“Building a budget is an important first step toward becoming financially resilient,” said Vanessa Okwuraiwe, an Edward Jones principal and president of the St. Louis Community College Foundation. “As a firm that fully supports ensuring economic growth in our hometown of St. Louis, we’re always happy to help promising young people gain more understanding of how finances work so they can take control of their economic future – whether that is eventually purchasing a home, building an investment portfolio or leaving a legacy in the future. It’s yet another way we live to fulfill our purpose and partner to create a positive impact in the communities we serve.”
Edward Jones will be supporting increased financial literacy with additional seminars throughout the STLCC system this fall.
In addition to Edward Jones financial advisors sharing their time and financial talent with BMAA participants, the Missouri Scholarship & Loan Foundation provided $20,000 to support ending racial and economic disparities in postsecondary education.
“Through the Institutional Racial Equity Initiative Grant program, MSLF’s goal is to support innovative racial equity initiatives on Missouri public college campuses. Specifically, MSLF wants to improve conditions for students of color so that more students enroll in, persist and complete a degree program,” said Melissa Findley, MSFL’s executive director. “We are excited for St. Louis Community College to initiate this program with meaningful impact and measurable outcomes.”