02/24/2012 Center for Financial and Consumer Outreach





Center for Financial and Consumer Outreach



Established in 2004 (originally as the Center for Credit and Consumer Research – CCCR), the Center for Financial and Consumer Outreach (CFCO) is an outreach unit of the Sam and Irene Black School of Business at Penn State Erie, The Behrend College. When originally developed, the Center's primary purpose was to research consumer socialization and credit card usage habits; particularly ethical problems and risks associated with credit card usage among vulnerable populations in society. The Center examined issues pertaining to consumer socialization and the credit card usage habits of consumers in the United States and international markets. The Center has conducted empirical research related to consumer socialization and credit card usage and provided educational outreach to help consumers better manage and understand the adverse effects of over accumulating personal credit card debt. Since inception, the Center has also provided educational outreach programming that focuses on promoting spending, saving, credit, and overall money management skills to students in K-12 and beyond. Its goal is to provide individuals with practical instruction about basic needs to earn a living, methods to achieve greater self-sufficiency, and improved quality of life.


Since its inception, the CFCO has developed several interactive learning tools to stimulate participants' interest in money management. Our lead programs include: Driver's Training for the Credit Card Highway Workshop; Live S3 Game Show, a live interactive financial literacy style game show that teaches participants concepts on how to Save, Spend, and Succeed (S3); and the S3 Online Game, which provides financial education online and includes resources and a companion guide for continued learning.

The S3 Online Game allows players the opportunity to test their knowledge of financial literacy topics based on their level of learning. This unique “game show” format learning style can be played individually or in a group setting. In addition, the center offer a variety of other interactive programs that challenge the participants to think about and use foundational tools and practices in practical ways, relating them to situations and providing opportunity to apply them in challenging, hands-on experiential learning opportunities. The programs deliverables are: increased financial literacy, knowledge and understanding through traditional academic presentations and kinesthetic models.

To monitor the success of our programs, the CFCO utilizes pre- and post-tests and evaluations of the programs to ensure that participants learned effectively. The programs are offered either by staff, volunteers or can be provided in a train-the-trainer format. We also have available online programs for self-study learning as well. For a complete listing on our programs, please visit the CFCO website at http://cfco.psu.edu.

Additional resources and initiatives provided by the Center include:

Educator Training Course for teachers and nonprofit staff (i.e. Best Practices In Implementing Financial Education); a Money Matters Conference (one day financial education conference open to the general public; FREE Financial Education Webinars; and Interactive and Engaging Youth Events, such as the Center’s High School Symposium. The High School Symposium is the largest youth event of the year. This event hosts more than 500 high school students from throughout Western PA in an interactive, one-day, real-life simulation. The students receive financial literacy and life skills education as well as postsecondary training, including a campus tour.


The Center for Financial and Consumer Outreach hopes to increase the impact it makes on the lives of youth and their families. Financial education can help our youth achieve greater self-sufficiency, an improved quality of life and so much more. To reach these goals, the CFCO requires both financial and volunteer support.

The CFCO needs financial support from corporations, foundations and individuals, in order to enhance its programming continually, expand its reach, and provide its service to the community at little to no charge.

Additionally, the Center needs volunteers and educators who are willing to partner and provide programming in their schools and organizations. Using the train the trainer format helps the CFCO minimize expenses and bring much needed financial education to youth (and their families).


The Center for Financial & Consumer Outreach (CFCO) is planning to roll out several new programs and initiatives this year, including:

Financial EduNation: Financial EduNation is an online resources center offered by the Center for Financial and Consumer Outreach in partnership with the National Financial Educators’ Council. This online tool is full of resources for parents, students, educators and community leaders. Students can test their knowledge of financial literacy topics, while parents and educators can learn how to communicate more effectively with youth about financial literacy topics. Qualified organizations receive complementary access to the comprehensive Financial EduNation resource center. This is provided on a first-come, first-served basis. Interested parties can simply contact the office to receive information on how to access this resource.

Teen Money Camp: This camp is an entertaining and educational two to five day money camp for youth ages 12-18. This money-management program provides the financial decision-making tools youth need to create financial independence. The lessons learned at this camp will create good financial habits that will last a lifetime. The camp days will be filled with high-energy games, and stimulating workshops on topics like money management and entrepreneurship, as well as knowledgeable guest speakers.


Erica Jackson, Director
Center for Financial & Consumer Outreach
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