Area Students Complete New Web-Based Financial Program

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BERLIN — Hoping to teach high school students practical financial skills, the Bank of Ocean City has teamed up with Stephen Decatur High School (SDHS) and EverFi to offer an e-platform course.

The “web-based e-learning platform” is part of a new push to instill financial skills in young adults that can be taken out of the classroom and applied to the real world.

“Teaching fiscal responsibility to young adults has always been a big part of the bank’s community involvement,” said Bank of Ocean City President and CEO Wayne Benson. “Educating our youth to make intelligent financial decisions on their own sets a solid foundation on which they can build upon their lifetime.”

According to EverFi’s website, the company uses “the latest in new media technologies” like 3-D gaming, social networking, and adaptive-pathing, to encourage the understanding of finance and economics. The EverFi platform promises “interactive financial management” that can be taken from the screen out into the street.

“The [students] who participated really enjoyed it,” said Bank of Ocean City Assistant Vice President Earl Conley. “Instead of having a teacher up there just writing on a blackboard, you actually go in … It’s very interactive. They start everything from opening a bank account to going through and paying for college, your car and your house. It’s a pretty neat program.”

SDHS Junior Brittany Wellman agreed with Conley and said that the practical information covered by the course was a lot more than she expected to find in an economics class.

“It’s an online course that teaches you all about economics: banking, investing, consumer fraud, college and all of that,” explained Wellman. “It’s more like things that you’ll need to know, not just for the classroom but what you’ll actually use outside.”

Brittany Wellman was joined in the course by her sister, Brooke, both of whom were satisfied with the course.

The online class consists of six hours of “programming aimed at teaching, assessing and certifying students in a variety of financial topics including credit scores, insurance, credit cards, student loans, mortgages, taxes, stocks, savings, 401k’s and other critical concepts,” according to a release from the Bank of Ocean City. Completion of the course results in the issuance of a Certification in Financial Literacy, which EverFi called a “powerful tool” in college applications or resumes.

Bank of Ocean City plans to continue to offer the web-based program in years to come, which Conley said should give local students an edge as state requirements continue to tighten.

“The state requirements are probably going to get a little bit stricter each year so this at least covers far above and beyond what the restrictions are,” he stated.

Conley described the bank’s relationship with SDHS as a “really good fit” and one the bank will continue in the future. The bank will be providing EverFi free-of-charge to the school and Bank of Ocean City is the first bank in the state to move forward with the EverFi course.

“BOC has entered into a long-term deal with SDHS and pays the fee of $4,000 annually for the product, which fulfills the school’s financial literacy requirements as mandated by the government,” said Conley.

About a dozen graduates were awarded their certificates of completion Monday. Several of the first-year members, including the Wellman sisters, expressed in interest in entering finance or banking professionally.

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