Students Run the Credit Union: Career Development in Shelby County

Credit UnionDora Montgomery, a long time educator in Shelby County, sought for years to form a student-run credit union to teach students financial literacy and give them valuable job skills. Montgomery heads the Business and Finance Academy at the School of Technology, a high school focused on career technical training.

As Shelby County Extension Coordinator Ricky Colquitt explains, the credit union idea fit into Montgomery’s business curriculum, which “exposes students to a real world environment. They get real world experience they normally wouldn’t get before entering into a career field. Basically, it takes these kids out of the textbook and shows them what happens in the real world. Most of them have never managed money. What high school student has?”

With support from the Rural Alabama Initiative and sponsorship from the First Educator's Credit Union, Montgomery launched the first student-run financial organization in the Shelby County school system in January 2010, and is thrilled with the results. Her students are gaining real world experience as well as building their skills in money management and customer service. “The kids have taken on ownership of the project,” reports Montgomery. “They get excited about it, and it gives them a sense of pride that they’re doing something worthwhile.” Four of Montgomery’s graduates now work in the financial sector, largely due to the experience and exposure they received through the credit union.

Last Updated: May 20, 2014