Superintendent Kyle Repucci is pleased to share that the Rochester School District and HRCU (Holy Rosary Credit Union) have successfully worked together for nearly two decades to give students a unique pathway from the R.W. Creteau Regional Technology Center into banking and finance fields.
“Having HRCU as a partner allows our students to have the most authentic real-world learning opportunity in a very safe and supportive environment,” said Superintendent Repucci. “HRCU’s instructor teaches our students financial concepts in the classroom and our students put these concepts into practice while working in the HRCU branch located in our school.”
As part of HRCU’s mission of providing financial education opportunities to encourage financial wellness, HRCU funds a teaching position at the R.W. Creteau Regional Technology Center for the Banking and Financial Services Program that provides instruction on banking and related financial topics.
The program is one-of-a-kind among career technical centers in the state of New Hampshire and has impacted dozens of students since it was launched in 2006. This year there are 16 students taking exploratory classes and two student interns in the Banking and Financial Services Program.
In addition to funding a teaching position, HRCU operates a branch inside of the Creteau Center, which gives students a chance to do job shadowing and to work as interns in a live financial institution environment. The branch is open to the public Mondays, Thursdays, and Fridays, and includes an ATM.
“Opening up a branch at the Creteau Center allowed us to provide many services more directly. It provides students with the recourses necessary to managing their own funds,” said HRCU President and CEO Brian Hughes. “In addition, many of the interns in this program are hired at HRCU, which helps them start their professional careers, not just in banking.”
One of several Spaulding High School graduates who have completed the pathway is HRCU’s Consumer Lending Team Lead, Sara McHugh, who took advantage of job shadowing opportunities at the credit union branch during her senior year in 2017. That experience led McHugh into a career in banking, and into a job that she enjoys today.
“During my senior year, I took part in the banking program and it shaped the way I wanted my career to go. HRCU offered in-person job shadowing once a week, and my class was able to discover that banking is more than meets the eye. I learned that each person and each department is crucial to the success of the business,” McHugh said. “Now, every day, I get to coach and educate people on how to build and maintain personal finances, and I help get them into their dream cars, and eventually dream homes.”
Hughes said the program is possible because HRCU is a not for profit financial institution, which means the credit union has an opportunity to give back to the local community. “To help students find a career path and provide financial education early on, makes the partnership with the Rochester Schools very rewarding.” Hughes added, “The credit union also provides college scholarships to students who complete the program with an A.”
Sam Greene, a 2017 Spaulding High School graduate who now works as a Universal Associate at HRCU, said he was already interested in the banking and finance world before taking the course. “The program prepared me by enabling me to practice real-life teller transactions and by teaching me how to be efficient while providing the best service possible,” said Greene, who was able to learn organizational skills and how to be goal-oriented while working in the Banking and Financial Services Program and at the credit union’s branch.
“Financial literacy is something every adult must learn. Our students are afforded the opportunity to learn from professionals in the field of finance and to practice these concepts in the real world of banking and finance. Understanding financial concepts leads to better personal finance behaviors,” said Superintendent Repucci. “This education provides our students a strong foundation they can build on as adults and helps them avoid lifelong money problems, setting themselves on a path toward success early on in adult life.”
While the partnership is almost 20 years old, Director of Career and Technology Education Michele Halligan-Foley said the close relationship between the school and the credit union has enabled the program to grow and evolve as needed despite changes in the banking industry.
“Our partnership is an open line of communication where we are always brainstorming new ideas and adjusting the curriculum as we analyze industry needs,” said Director Halligan-Foley. “HRCU is very giving of their employees and time.”
To learn more about the Banking and Financial Services program, click here.