PwC is a financial literacy champion. In 2012, the business services giant launched what would become a five-year $190 million commitment to address youth education—with a focus on financial concepts. Soon after, I attended a PwC funded seminar for high school educators on business and financial responsibility hosted at Penn’s Wharton School. PwC picked up the tab for all teachers, including travel.
Right About Money founder Dan Kadlec moderated a heavyweight opening panel featuring Annamaria Lusardi, Denit Trust Endowed Chair of Economics and Accountancy at George Washington School of Business, and Shannon Schuyler, PwC’s corporate responsibility leader. I was on the panel as well.
Continuous sessions led by Wharton professors and a surprise visit by former U.S. Treasurer Rosa Rios followed. The experience left all with a lasting impression of PwC excellence.
PwC remains committed to financial literacy, funding cutting edge programs and research. The firm is a sponsor of the Right About Money financial literacy report and website, and recently pledged $320 million over five years toward boosting financial capability and tech skills for students in underserved communities through the Access Your Potential program.
“Half of today’s jobs require some degree of technological skills, and experts believe that number will rise to 77% in the coming decade,” Schuyler says. “This means that access to technology skills and an understanding of the types of jobs available is the key to a long-term career.”
PwC’s Earn Your Future Digital Lab is a robust collection of videos, real-world examples, and interactive activities that support teachers and students in grades 3-12. The online modules are free. Topics include saving, investing, debt, and paying for college. “Equipping students with the knowledge to intelligently leverage their dollars is equally important as helping them develop the skills and careers that will lead them to those dollars,” Schuyler says.
I am planning future classes that will use these modules in the area of risk management, for one. The modules include before and after assessments to check for understanding. They are presented in an engaging story format that weaves in key concepts and prompts the user to analyze things like insurance quotes.
I am already using the Build Your Future app as a key component in a career and family planning project. PwC and Junior Achievement jointly developed the app, which helps teens, parents and teachers break down the cost of college in relation to their career goals.
Key inputs include career, likely income, cost of college, grants and scholarships, and student loans. The analysis guides students to an understanding that their education is an investment—and they should seek a high return.
“We still face significant barriers, which include a lack of scaled resources, training and a real contradiction between what students may learn in the classroom to what happens in their home,” Schuyler says. “Because we know financial education is critical to our societal and economic vitality, we as businesses have the responsibility to make it our issue and to bring new thinking to the table.”