JHS Students Learn Valuable Experiences Through Credit Union Internships

JHS business teacher Ashley Andrews, Mychaila Philbrick, Katlyn Jewell, Ryan Delong, Lindsey Stravado (SCFCU), Candy Peterson-White (SCFCU) Kneeling: Gabby Rosario and Ajiah Muoio.

Jamestown High School students are being given not only the unique opportunity to learn more about financial responsibilities, but to also complete internships with the help of Southern Chautauqua Federal Credit Union (SCFCU) and their JHS branch in the school library. There are six JHS student interns working alongside credit union employees at the JHS branch: Ajiah Muoio, Katyln Jewell, Delante Jones, Ryan Delong, Gabby Rosario, and Mychaila Philbrick.

The internship program is in addition to offering banking services and scholarships to students. JHS Academy of Business, Management, Marketing and Technology teachers reached out to students they thought would benefit from the internships. Students completed an application process, which included letters of recommendation and an interview with Southern Chautauqua FCU. Interns learn about the many different aspects of banking, including: processing transactions, providing members with great customer service, and marketing the JHS branch to fellow students and staff. The interns have recently implemented a pirate-themed marketing campaign and will help market SCFCU’s scholarships program where they give eight, $700 scholarships to JHS students. Student interns will also help out as an intake site with the VITA (Volunteer Income Tax Assistance) program that SCFCU runs with a grant from the IRS. The branch operates at no cost to the school district

“I decided to apply because I believed it would help me grow in how to communicate with others and grow in other aspects for my future,” said JHS junior Ajiah Muoio, who is in her second year interning. “It helps students learn more about banking with the credit union and it makes students aware of the advantages they have with having this opportunity at JHS. I believe having the internship teaches us responsibility and makes us aware of how to manage money at a young age. It’s been an amazing experience I have learned and grown since last year when I first started. I may not go into the financial world but doing this internship makes me feel like I’m slowly being prepared for the real world and I have just felt so blessed with everything I have learned!”

The credit union sees the benefits to partnering with JHS too.

“Each year we are trying to build upon a prior year,” said Candace Peterson-White, SCFCU’s Director of Community Development. “We are very excited about the internship program at JHS and also about partnering with Chautauqua Works to help compensate some students for the hours they work. Everyone has been wonderful at JHS and is so accessible to help the program run smoothly.”

The program at the JHS credit union uses a “Teach, Test, Try” concept that requires students to learn the basics of each product level before they are eligible to participate. The process begins in ninth grade learning about savings accounts and saving habits and increases each year to their senior year where, with the assistance and guidance of SCFUC staff, they can obtain loans and positively impact their credit.

“I love that that the kids get real-world experience,” said JHS business teacher Ashley Andrews. “We treat the credit union internships just like real jobs. Students are acquiring teller skills while still in high school, which they can then transfer to a real job when they graduate. Many of our students are bilingual, which is a hot commodity in today’s business world. We are preparing our students to be members of the working world.”

SCFCU’s School Based Branch at JHS is open to students and staff only from 10 a.m. to 2:45 p.m. when school is in session.