Project Groundswell Highlighted



Laura Levine from Jump$tart National recently spoke at the national SIFMA Conference in New York City for Stock Market Game directors to discuss Project Groundswell and the Check Your School initiative. The Stock Market Game is an investing simulation for students in grades 4 – 12 and is a great tool for teaching financial literacy to youth. The conference group, which included a MN Jump$tart Board member, was encouraged to talk with their educators and parents across their states to add their school to the Check Your School website, continue promoting effective financial education resources, and refer educators to Jump$tart who are looking for easy ways to bring financial literacy education to their students. Contact us at MN Jump$tart coalition to learn more about the Check Your School initiative and great financial education resources.  You can also learn more about Project Groundswell here

Jump$tart Board Members Serve on Financial Literacy Panel


Last month, two members of the Jump$tart Board sat on a panel to discuss resources available to support youth financial literacy. The panel was part of a workshop hosted by the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau (CFPB) and the Minnesota Department of Education Library Services. The goal of the workshop was to help librarians feel comfortable in supporting their communities with financial literacy and creating spaces in libraries for youth to have access to financial literacy resources. The panel shared their experiences in teaching financial education to youth, key financial literacy issues youth should be exposed to (money management and budgeting, saving and investing, credit, identity theft, student loans, etc.) and specific tools, curriculum and resources attendees could access to support youth financial literacy in their libraries and communities.

Personal Finance Career Options on Display at the Minneapolis Public School’s STEM Expo


We had a great time at the 2019 Minneapolis Public School STEM Expo this week!

At the MPS STEM and Career Exploration Expo, students explore a variety of career options that require a strong academic foundation in science, math, technology, engineering, design thinking, and problem-solving skills. Business professionals provide short demonstrations related to their careers and talk in this small group setting about the realistic steps and obstacles in pursuing a STEM career. Students visit exhibitor displays to learn more about after-school and community STEM activities, post-secondary college and career readiness options, and Minnesota STEM-related businesses.

The primary mission of the STEM Expo is to ensure that all students learn; and support their growth into knowledgeable, skilled and confident citizens capable of succeeding in their work, personal and family life into the 21st century.  Goals of the STEM & Career Exploration Expo are to change student perceptions of STEM and high tech, high wage careers, explore related career possibilities, and share the information regarding educational pathways required to realize those opportunities.

The STEM Expo provides students with the chance to find relevance in their STEM coursework and understand how it will impact their future career options by encouraging interactions with STEM professionals from industry and post-secondary institutions.

We’re Going to the State Capitol on April 11!

We are excited to share details about our Annual Event on April 11, 2019. This year, our event theme is Advancing Financial Education for Youth – Awareness Day at the State Capitol. We will be speaking with legislators at the Capitol about financial literacy in Minnesota.
Our event will be smaller this year due to the nature of the activities at the Capitol. If you are interested in joining us, please RSVP via EventBrite
If you attend with us, we will send additional details before the event.
We will be sure to follow up with this group after the event to share results of our meetings with legislators and other updates.
Thank you for your partnership in raising awareness of youth financial literacy and the work you are doing to provide financial education across Minnesota!

State Senator Steve Cwodzinski Attends Board Meeting


Cwodzinski Portrait.jpg

Minnesota Jump$tart was fortunate to have Minnesota state senator Steve Cwodzinski attend the most recent Board meeting.  Steve spent time with our organization to give his views on current legislative priorities and answer questions about personal finance in the classroom.  Key observations and points made by Senator Cwodzinski included the following:

–          There can be challenges ensuring any new requirements fit into existing curriculums (e.g. if something is mandated, something else is likely to have to be removed);

–          Stated that individuals and organizations that would like to see personal finance taught in the classroom should contact their respective representatives in the legislature;

–          Recommended that Minnesota Jump$tart and other partner organizations continue to provide support to local classrooms and schools;

–          Highlighted that rallies at the Capitol are a great way to advocate for specific issues and connect with representatives in the legislature.

Minnesota Jump$tart would once again like to thank Senator Cwodzinski for taking the time to meet with us and answer our questions.  We wish him the best of luck as he continues to be strong advocate on behalf of Minnesota students in the legislature.

Minnesota Jump$tart and the Minnesota Credit Union Network Hold Financial Capability Event

90 individuals from business, finance, academia, education, and government committed to providing financial education took part in a Life Simulation designed to help sensitize participants to the financial needs of low-wage working families.

 Held at the University of Minnesota Urban Research and Outreach-Engagement Center (UROC), the event was a partnership between the and the

“The life simulation experience is meant to deepen educators’ commitment to their most vulnerable community members and encourage understanding of the intense pressure financial difficulties put on individuals” said MnCUN President & CEO Mark Cummins.

During the three-hour activity, participants were grouped into “families” struggling to make ends meet in a simulated month of four fifteen-minute weeks. Each participant played a unique role within the family. These simulated families visited a variety of booths, including a school, employer, pawn shop and payday lender. Through the exercise, they encountered events and financial crises faced by many low-income Americans, including eviction, loss of utilities, lack of reliable transportation, crime, and the moment-to-moment stress of making ends meet. At the conclusion of the exercise participants shared their experiences and emotions in a powerful debriefing session.

“The Jump$tart board sought to provide an engaging experience to demonstrate the importance of personal finance in the everyday context of diverse households,” Minnesota Jump$tart Coalition Board President Karyn Thompson said. “The Life Simulation was a natural choice and we are thankful for the Minnesota Credit Union Network’s partnership.”

In addition to the Life Simulation, attendees heard remarks from Minnesota Department of Commerce Commissioner Jessica Looman. Looman praised attendees for their work in financial capability and underscored the department’s role as a resource for consumers’ financial wellbeing.

 The Minnesota Jump$tart Coalitionis part of the national Jump$tart Coalition for Financial Literacy, which brings together individuals and organizations to improve the personal financial literacy of Minnesota’s Youth. The Coalition hosts an annual event or conference in April in celebration of National Financial Literacy Month. Other events and activities have included networking events for partners, webinars for young adults, scholarships for teachers to attend the national conference, a young adult mentoring program, and more. Minnesota Jump$tart can be found on social media on Facebook and Twitter (@mnjumpstart)

 The Minnesota Credit Union Networkis the statewide trade association that works to ensure the success, growth and vitality of Minnesota credit unions. With nearly $20 billion in assets, Minnesota credit unions are local, trusted financial cooperatives that serve more than 1.6 million members at almost 400 branch locations around the state. As not-for-profit institutions, credit unions give back to the communities they serve. For more information, visit

Registration is Now Open for the April Event!



On Thursday April 26, 2018, Minnesota Jump$tart will hold its annual April Event.  This year’s event will be held at the University of Minnesota Urban Research and Outreach Center located at 2001 Plymouth Avenue North, Minneapolis, MN 55411

During the three-hour activity, attendee’s will be grouped into “families” who are struggling to make ends meet in a simulated month divided into four fifteen-minute “weeks”. Each participant will play a unique role within the family. These simulated families will have a chance to visit a variety of booths that include a school, employer, pawn shop and payday lender.

The event is free but registration is required. We are capping the event at 100 participants and suggest early registration. To register, click here.

The agenda for the event includes:

3:00– Registration and gathering

3:15– Welcome from Jump$tart

3:20– MN Commissioner of Commerce, Jessica Looman, Event Kick off

3:30– Overview of how the simulation works

3:45– Round 1 of life simulation begins

There will be 4 rounds with a 10 minute strategy time in between each round

5:25– End of life simulation and break

5:40– De-brief the life simulation and enjoy refreshments

6:15– End

Minnesota Jump$tart Members Serve as Judges in Local High School’s Shark Tank Competition

Members from Minnesota Jump$tart recently had the fortunate opportunity to serve as judges in Maranatha Christian Academy’s inaugural entrepreneurial “Shark Tank” competition

Juniors and Seniors at Maranatha have spent a significant portion of the term learning about what it takes to develop an idea into a viable business, core fundamentals for every entrepreneur!   In addition to developing their business ideas and presentations for the “Shark Tank” judges, the students have created a business model canvas, a value proposition and a one page written synopsis of their businesses.

The “Shark Tank” competition started off with 8 teams.  Judges were asked to evaluate the students based on criteria that included presentation skills, viability of the business, analysis of the market for the product or service and assessment of the competitive environment.

After much deliberation from the judges, congratulations are in order for Sidekicks and K-Kase.  Sidekicks, is an app-based preventative and protective service that aims to help female college students avoid dangerous situations with an emphasis on preventing sexual assault.  K-Kase created the concept of a protective smart phone case that charges devices through kinetic energy (energy created through movement and motion).

Upon completion of the competition at Maranatha, Sidekicks and K-Kase will move on to a multi-school competition at the University of Minnesota during the second week of January.  Best of luck to both teams as they move forward!


Minnesota Jump$tart Hosts Financial Literacy Bootcamp for Teachers


Minnesota Jump$tart partnered with NextGen Personal Finance to host a Financial Bootcamp for over 50 teachers from across the state of Minnesota.

NextGen Personal Finance is a non-profit organization that was formed to connect educators with free resources, professional development and advocacy tools in order to equip students with the knowledge and skills to lead financially successful and fulfilling lives.  NGPF offers a free high-school personal finance curriculum and professional development partner helping teachers deliver essential money understanding in an easy-to-grasp, engaging way.

The event started off with a welcome address from a representative from the Minnesota Department of Education, comments from Bill Cheeks, President of Jump$tart and a message from Minnesota Jump$tart president, Karyn Thompson.

After introductions, the teachers participated in workshops focused on budgeting with roommates, an introduction to credit scores, teaching through interactives and investments.  Throughout the day, the teachers in attendance were continuously providing each other with feedback and sharing resources with one another.  It was truly inspirational to see the level of engagement the teachers had and their commitment to improving the financial literacy Minnesota’s students!

We are extremely grateful to the Minnesota Department of Education for hosting the event and to our partners Everfi, University of Minnesota Extension, Junior Achievement, TopLine Federal Credit Union and BestPrep, who were on-site to provide the teacher attendees with a wealth of information and resources to use in the classroom.

Minnesota Jump$tart Scholarship Recipient Attends Annual Jump$tart Conference


Minnesota Jump$tart was proud to be able to offer a scholarship to Rosemount’s Kyle Paulson to attend the Annual Jump$tart Conference.  Kyle was kind enough to share with us his thoughts after attending the conference.

The National Jump$tart Coalition puts on an amazing conference.  So much information is packed into such a short period of time.  While at the conference I attended four different sessions.  The first began before the conference and was an investing workshop for educators.  The speaker really focused on differentiating loanership (bonds) and ownership (stock).  I have never focused on bonds in my investments class due to the small knowledge I know with them; however, this course really opened my eyes to their importance and the need to teach about them.  The speaker also taught a little about the importance of wills, power of attorney, and medical directives.

The second session I attended was the H&R Block Budget Challenge.  This year I began utilizing the program, but have failed at properly implementing the program.  Taking this session I found that I implemented the program incorrectly, into the wrong course, and answered several questions I had.  This program is best to supplement my budgeting unit, I need to take more time out of my current curriculum to explain check registry, check payments, and how to budget credit card payments.

The next session was credit reporting resources for the classroom.  I currently spend a day or two on credit reports and this is exactly what the instructor stated should be taken.  A huge focus of this unit in the classroom should be spent on what is in the report, and not the credit score number.  The reason for this is that each credit reporting agency uses a different formula, but all utilize the same information within the report.  Students should also look to see that all three reporting agencies should have the same information, if not this should be reported.  The final piece of this session was focused on how the information within the report can effect jobs, and credit worthiness when it comes to loans and leases.

The final session I took was Insurance 101 for Teen Drivers.  I briefly talk about car insurance in my course and relied upon students to learn about this insurance in their driver’s education course.  As a driving instructor for the district I realize the importance of this unit, but didn’t know how to implement it into my course.  Upon taking this course I received great curriculum and how to address it with students.  The main focus of this session was on how bad driving effects insurance rates as a whole, the different types of auto insurance, and how to reduce the cost of vehicle insurance.

The conference offers a lot of information for you to take in; however, sometimes there is too much information and not enough time.  The first suggestion I would give to future participants is to network, network, and do more networking.  The best way to do this is at the social events in the evening.  Networking will help you in a few ways.  The first is you can’t attend every session, and often times there will be 2 or 3 that you will want to attend.  Finding others who attended those sessions will allow you to get the materials from the session, and a brief synopsis of the session.  The individuals you network with add to your curriculum ideas and often time materials.

The next thing to keep in mind is that courses fill up quickly, so you may have to register for a course that is not interesting to you; however, attendance at sessions are not taken so if you change your mind last minute go to the course that will benefit you them most.  This also means that if you begin a session and it is not what you expected, find a different session to attend.  When looking at the courses, also look at your current curriculum.  If you are utilizing some of the materials, software, or other programs offered during a session and have questions about how to better utilize what you are currently using.  I attended H&R Block Budget Challenge which I began utilizing a few months ago and hadn’t had much success doing so.  After attending I had a lot of questions answered, figured out I was utilizing it in the wrong course, and how better to incorporate the program into my curriculum.

The final piece of advice I have is to attend the Exhibit Hall, but to wait till half way through to go.  It is a mad scramble of educators and you don’t get the one-on-one time with the vendors until about an hour into it.  This is an opportunity to find new curriculum, meet with vendors, and also network with current educators utilizing some of the programs.

Minnesota Jump$tart could not be more excited for Kyle. The conference was a great experience and provided Kyle with a number of resources to use in the classroom and allowed him to expand his network.  We look forward to providing additional scholarships in future years to help teachers attend this event.

If you would like to  learn more about Minnesota Jump$tart and its efforts to help promote financial education, you can contact us at