PwC's Earn Your Future is a multi-year commitment to address youth education, with a focus on financial literacy, impacting 2.5 million youth and educators in the US. Through an investment of $160 million-composed of $60 million in cash donations and one million service hours, worth $100 million-PwC US will better prepare youth to make responsible decisions and contribute to a healthier US economy. PwC's Earn Your Future will focus on two major gaps in the education system: a lack of financial literacy curriculum and a lack of training opportunities for educators.
To fulfill this commitment PwC US is working alongside a variety of local and national nonprofit partners, including reaching at least 2.2 million youth via Donorschoose.org, 122,000 youth via Feeding America and 100,000 youth via Junior Achievement.
PwC US will mobilize (an estimated 18,870 of) its experienced professionals who are well-versed in finance, accounting and economics to participate in skills-based opportunities. Using PwC's Financial Literacy Curriculum-which covers topics such as financial planning, spending and saving, creditworthiness and risk management-the firm's employees will work alongside nonprofit partners to provide seminars for teachers and classroom instruction for students. Each market (defined as a location where PwC has offices) will have a Youth Education Champion who is responsible for connecting employees with these skill-based volunteering opportunities. The firm's partners and senior leadership will be encouraged to take board seats at youth education nonprofits and to speak publically about, and raise awareness for the need for financial literacy youth education.
Given PwC US' 70 offices in 21 major US markets and its depth of financial expertise, the firm is uniquely qualified to develop a scalable, system-wide solution to fill the gap in financial literacy and youth education.
PwC US will launch this commitment throughout the summer of 2012. Following the launch, PwC US will use the following activities, resources, and partners to fulfill its commitment.
- Annual Business and Financial Responsibility Seminars (Summer 2012 and then ongoing): National and regional seminars for high school teachers to build financial competency. Co-hosted with Knowledge @ Wharton High School, these 3-day sessions will cover topics such as savings and investments, risk management, and negotiation and persuasion. At the end of the seminars, teachers will receive a certificate from Knowledge @ Wharton High School
- PwC US' National High School Business Challenge (Fall 2012 and then ongoing annually): will tasks students with creating a business plan, while providing exposure to business concepts such as market research, budgeting, and financial planning case study via a hands-on experience
- Service Hours (Ongoing): PwC US' experienced professionals-many trained in finance-will lead teacher seminars, student mentorship and classroom instruction in PwC US markets and alongside commitment partners
- PwC US' Financial Literacy Curriculum: 18 modules spanning grades 3-12, to be available for free download via the websites of PwC, nonprofit partners and the US Department of Education
- PwC US' Open University: free and open access to PwC-developed courses around tax, financial services and other topics for all to use
- 35,000 well-educated partners and staff (18,870 expected to participate)
'We applaud PwC for its commitment to education and service and are thrilled to be collaborating with them. Youth education is one the nation's foremost priorities, and through commitments like this we are helping provide teachers and students with the tools and resources they need in the classroom.' -Charles Best, founder and CEO, DonorsChoose.org.
There is a critical need to improve the leadership skills and financial literacy of today's youth. Students in the US are the farthest behind in math and science by a marked difference when compared to other industrialized countries. Despite the fact that 13 states mandate financial literacy coursework as a graduation requirement, only 35% of teens know how to write a check, and fewer than 20 % of teachers feel prepared to teach financial literacy.
This lack of financial literacy has negative implications early on in young adult lives: 55% of college students acquire their first credit card as freshman and 45% are in debt an average of $3,066. A strong education system that integrates financial concepts like interest rates and the importance of a good credit score into its core K-12 curricula is critical in preparing youth to make responsible financial decisions and gain meaningful employment.
Furthermore, gaps in the education system have direct economic consequences on a national scale. Closing the educational achievement gap between the US and top performing countries, like Korea and Finland, would have raised GDP by $1.3 to $2.3 trillion in 2008 (9 to 16% of GDP).
A lackluster education system also contributes to an issue heavy on many Americans' minds: joblessness. Despite modest job growth, unemployment is still high due to the mismatch between talent and opportunity-otherwise known as the skills gap-which is impeding industry competitiveness. As our country's economic future is tied to the success of our youth, educators, business and communities must unite to help the next generation of Americans attain economic security via informed financial decision making.