MembersFirst Credit Union teamed up with the Paulding County School District to build a full-service, student-run branch inside Hiram High School. The branch, which opened with the new 2016/2017 school year, serves as an innovative way for students to learn about and manage their finances while gaining real-life work experience through the Work Based Learning program at Hiram High School. The logo was designed by a Hiram High School student and the colorful mural was painted by another student. The new branch was designed by Howe Construction, a design-build company founded in 1999 which is based in Roswell, Georgia.
The Hiram High School branch handles credit union transactions five days a week during lunch periods and after school. Students and high school faculty open and manage their accounts just like they do at any other MembersFirst branch; however, the role of tellers, Member Advisors and various personnel (Project Manager, Marketing Director, Web Designer and Graphic Artist) are performed by the Hiram High School students under the guidance of senior credit union employees. The supporting Work-Based Learning program consists of three, consecutive, one-year classes that focus on financial services knowledge in addition to other skills and training which are transferable to future jobs. After receiving the training, the students work in the high school’s branch as well as externships at a regular MembersFirst Credit Union branch.
This partnership between MembersFirst Credit Union and Hiram High School serves as a model for school districts and financial institutions. Communities need the support of businesses for growth; working with the school system is a unique way to directly impact and improve the community by creating real-life educational opportunities for a knowledgeable and trained workforce for business communities to pull from.