Teens light up with money questions in Milwaukee summer employment program

Milwaukee’s next wave of carpenters and electricians spent a few summer mornings building a foundation of good financial behaviors.

Seventeen Milwaukee teens opened up in a wide-ranging Money Sense lesson recently as part of a trade awareness and interest program that partnered SecureFutures, the Milwaukee Bucks, WRTP, MPS and the City of Milwaukee’s EARN & LEARN initiative.

Pat McDonough, Bucks CFO and SecureFutures board director (at left), led the lesson held at MATC’s Walkers Square campus. What started as a discussion on credit sparked questions from across the financial spectrum – on banks, debit cards, identity theft, fraud and responsibility.

“What if I don’t want to spend money on a credit card?” asked Jaivon, a Groppi H.S. junior.

“Know your habits. Don’t get one,” McDonough cautioned.

Later, Rashard, a Bay View H.S. sophomore, came to a realization on late payments: “Why would you borrow that money if you don’t have to … It makes me mad, though! Your pockets are going down but their account is going up.”

The Money Sense lesson was a portion of the summer-long youth employment program with Milwaukee teens. McDonough emphasized primary points of the day’s Money Sense lesson, such as the differences between credit and debit, and the importance of establishing good spending and saving habits. But he was eager to follow the students lead as they processed things like the big-picture benefits and costs from different rates of interest payments.

“I like to pay my stuff on time,” concluded Taiara, a sophomore at Vincent H.S. “When you don’t, that’s where they get you.”

Chris Terry, an MATC electrician instructor who hosted the Money Sense lesson in his class, said he appreciated seeing the students light up with questions throughout the financial discussions.

“Look at all these epiphanies,” Terry said. “I love it.”

Go to Top