In the fall of 2006, Holy Rosary Credit Union in Rochester opened a branch within the Richard W. Creteau Tech Center at Spaulding High School, which provides juniors and seniors with a unique opportunity found nowhere else in the state.
“Students run the branch 4 days a week with Wednesday a chance for them to complete one of 27 online modules,” said Branch Manager Leah Esslinger-Sprowl, who is also a certified teacher. “These modules to help complete their Student Teller Certificate that they can use on a resume when applying for jobs in the future.”
Formally known as Banking and Financial Support Services, the program measures the progress made by students based on NH Department of Education Competencies. The first competency for which students are assessed is that they understand “concepts, process, principles, systems, and strategies of banking services and functions in order to process customer transactions and provide other customer services as requested.”
“On average, students will process between 5 and 8 teller transactions during their 90-minute class time every day,” added Esslinger-Sprowl.
In addition to how to process transactions, she said they work very intentionally to help students develop their business communication skills as well as develop their ability to cross-promote products. “They also must design a business presentation and do some additional research, such as comparing fees at other institutions while learning Microsoft Office products like Excel and Power Point,” she added.
Another core competency in the program includes understanding concepts, process, principles, systems, and strategies related to investment planning which is completed in the second level of the program. Other areas of focus include the development of Career Ready Practice and personal leadership skills and general Career Ready Practice skills is also specifically addressed in the program.
“The students go through every policy—ethics and compliance, for instance—that a regular employee would upon getting hired,” said Esslinger-Sprowl, who noted the program has also resulted in careers for many former students. “We currently have a few still working for us and have moved into other departments such as IT and accounting…it’s been wonderful to see that growth.”
In looking ahead at the program, she said she hopes to increase enrollment, which currently stands at 9 students. In addition to the program Esslinger-Sprowl runs a budget simulation fair called CU 4 Reality within Spaulding, which is a curriculum developed in partnership with credit unions and educators. “The program provides hands-on budget instruction for students of any age,” she added.
After completing the curriculum, students participate in a CU 4 Reality Fair, which she describes as “a fun but meaningful event” related to spending and budgeting based on career choices and lifestyle decisions.”
The 2015-2016 school year marks the 10th year of the program within the Tech Center. “It is a very strong program and provides students with a unique opportunity to work closely with an industry partner right in the school,” she said. “We hope to eventually be able to offer college credits with the program. For now, though, we are just very excited to quite literally train tomorrow’s workforce within the school—I am proud of what the students have accomplished here.”