Financial Empowerment Training Helps Frontline Workers Serve Clients

February 2, 2018, 9:10 am | Mary M. Weinand, Laura Sternweis

AMES, Iowa - Iowa State University Extension and Outreach and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau are collaborating to offer training on “Your Money, Your Goals,” a financial empowerment toolkit for frontline workers.

Financial Empowerment Training“This training is designed for service providers, volunteers, clergy members or anyone interested in helping others take steps toward financial stability and self-sufficiency,” said Mary Weinand, a human sciences specialist with ISU Extension and Outreach.

“These frontline workers already are focused on establishing helping relationships with their clients and improving the overall health and well-being of Iowans and their families. This opportunity helps them and the organizations they represent build their capacity to integrate financial empowerment into their work and services,” said Weinand, who specializes in family finance and teaches the course.

“Many frontline workers have had very little training in financial empowerment tools, yet their clients often face complex financial situations. However, research shows that by integrating financial empowerment tools into services that frontline workers already provide, their clients are three to four times more likely to succeed in economic attainment, from getting a job to reducing debt,” Weinand said.

Participants in ”Your Money, Your Goals” will learn about tools and resources they can use to help others understand their financial values, use credit wisely, manage debt effectively and access appropriate community resources, Weinand explained.

Each participant will receive a 300+ page toolkit that includes easy-to-follow directions, as well as recommendations for which tools to use based on the situation and time available. The tools range from dealing with debt to managing cash flow, and saving for the unexpected, emergencies, and goals. The toolkit also provides up-to-date information about getting, reviewing and correcting errors on credit reports.

“Good financial planning can help relieve stress and improve overall health and well-being. Working with clients to set savings goals and track expenses can help them develop habits that will lead to financial stability and self-sufficiency,” Weinand suggested.

“This year, in addition to the toolkit, we are excited to share new resources, like the ‘Behind on Bills’ booklet that makes it easier to find tools and information, as well as the companion guides that support the toolkit by helping workers tailor the money conversation to the unique needs of specific populations, such as people with disabilities.”

One caseworker who completed “Your Money, Your Goals” commented, “The tools really helped me start the conversation with my clients and they are easy to use. It’s often difficult to begin the discussion of money and this helped provide many ways to start and continue this very important conversation.”

ISU Extension and Outreach offers the 10-hour course throughout Iowa. The registration fee is $75 and pre-registration is required. CEUs are available for an additional fee. To find out when the next class is scheduled, contact any ISU Extension and Outreach human sciences specialist in family finance.

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau continues to update the material with useful supplements and audience specific guides.

For more information about “Your Money, Your Goals,” contact any ISU Extension and Outreach human sciences specialist in family finance or visit

Photo credit: alexander-raths/

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