A new national initiative, funded by the Wells Fargo Foundation, has awarded a total of $1.4 million in grants to 24 state and local government jurisdictions to establish or improve employee financial wellness programs. The grants come as many of the nearly 19 million state and local government employees continue to serve on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic, governments confront significant budget shortfalls, and workers are increasingly concerned about family finances.
The initiative is structured as a collaboration between the Center for State and Local Government Excellence (SLGE), the International Public Management Association for Human Resources (IPMA-HR), the National Association of State Treasurers' Foundation (NASTF), and Wells Fargo.
In a recent national poll conducted by SLGE, 56 percent of public employees reported that their family has been negatively impacted financially by the COVID-19 pandemic, and more than half are worried about their family finances, losing their job, furloughs, and pay and benefit reductions. Over a one-year period, each of the 24 grant recipients will have the opportunity to develop or expand customized financial wellness programs for public employees and their families to help them navigate financial challenges now or in the future, reduce debt, save for retirement, or reach other financial goals.
"Based on previous SLGE research, we know that only 29 percent of state and local government employers offer financial literacy programs to their workforce, while 68 percent of public employees would participate in these programs if they were offered one. These grants offer a real opportunity to close this gap for workers who deliver such vital public services," said Joshua Franzel, SLGE president and chief executive officer.
"Far too many of our nearly 19 million public sector employees lack access to the financial wellness programs they desire," said Shaun Snyder, NAST and the NAST Foundation executive director. "NAST is proud to continue its commitment to financial education through this collaboration, which will create important financial wellness opportunities for state and local government employees."
"IPMA-HR is honored to be part of this initiative, as we've been serving the needs of public sector employees for more than 100 years. As times change, it's no longer enough to only plan for retirement in the future. The public sector workforce deserves an initiative to develop a financial plan for the now. A public sector employee with financial security will be happier, more engaged, and in a better position to serve," said Cara Woodson Welch, IPMA-HR executive director.
The grant recipients represent a broad array of state and local employers from 17 states, the District of Columbia and the U.S. Virgin Islands, and are as follows:
-- Central Carolina Community College, NC
-- City of Allen, TX
-- City of Cleveland, Department of Human Resources Wellness Works! Program, OH
-- City of Columbus, OH
-- City of Elizabeth City, NC
-- City of Moreno Valley, CA
-- City of Peoria, AZ
-- City of Ridgefield, WA
-- City of Roanoke, VA
-- City of West Columbia, SC
-- Economic Empowerment Trust Fund, Office of the Massachusetts State Treasurer
-- Finance Authority of Maine
-- Government of the District of Columbia
-- Iowa Insurance Division
-- Lewis and Clark County, MT
-- Milwaukee County Transit System, WI
-- Montgomery County Intermediate Unit, PA
-- Nebraska State Treasurer's Office
-- Office of the Illinois State Treasurer
-- Pennsylvania Treasury
-- San Diego County Water Authority, CA
-- State of Wisconsin Employee Trust Funds and the Department of Financial Institutions
-- Town of Victor, NY
-- University of Virgin Islands Employee Financial Literacy Program
A webinar is scheduled for Wednesday, September 30th at 3:00 p.m. ET to learn more about the financial wellness education and support content. Register at no charge here. These resources are available to all interested stakeholders at no charge and, among other content, include: a series of reference materials and guides on hosting virtual and in-person financial wellness conferences/meetings; a customizable speaker's financial wellness toolkit; and fact sheets on existing state financial wellness programs. All of these materials are available here.
The Center for State and Local Government Excellence (SLGE) helps local and state governments become knowledgeable and competitive employers so they can attract and retain a talented and committed workforce. SLGE identifies leading practices and conducts research on public retirement plans, health and wellness benefits, workforce demographics and skill set needs, and labor force development. SLGE brings state and local leaders together with respected researchers. Access all SLGE publications and sign up for its newsletter at slge.org and follow @4GovtExcellence on Twitter.
The National Association of State Treasurers' Foundation promotes and improves the educational initiatives that enable members to pursue and administer sound financial policies and programs benefiting the citizens of the nation. NAST Foundation programs provide for the enhancement of public officials' understanding of the public financial arena and delivers education to the public about personal financial management. Founded in 2000, the charitable organization is governed by five-member board made up of State Treasurers. For more information, please visit nast.org/foundation/.
The International Public Management Association for Human Resources (IPMA-HR) represents the interests of public sector human resource professionals at all levels of government. IPMA-HR provides comprehensive resources and solutions to assist public sector human resource professionals in ensuring that their organizations have the right talent to achieve their missions. The association provides a wide range of programs products and services that include research, professional development, certification, communications, public policy, and assessments. Additional information about IPMA-HR is available at www.ipma-hr.org.
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SOURCE Center for State and Local Government Excellence