Students at Jewish Educational Center were steeped in expertise from the world of high finance, when a team of 25 professionals from the New York office of PricewaterhouseCoopers, a multinational professional services firm, spent a day at the Elizabeth school. The PwC experts, ranging from first-year associates to senior managers, were there on May 23 to pilot a financial literacy program for students that is intended eventually to reach schools around the country.
Starting at 9 a.m., every class in JEC’s Yeshiva of Elizabeth elementary and Rav Teitz Mesivta Academy boys’ high school divisions (except seniors, who were taking finals) attended modules on financial literacy, with a focus on savings and investment principles.
Scheduling constraints prevented students from JEC’s Bruriah High School for Girls from participating; they will have a chance to take part in the program early next year.
JEC is a beneficiary agency of Jewish Federation of Greater MetroWest NJ.
“PwC is making a $160 million commitment to financial literacy,” said Brian Ness, a firm partner who is also a JEC parent living in Hillside and a member of the board of trustees. “Over the next five years, we will be getting our people out into schools to focus on financial literacy, savings, and investment concepts, and the time value of money.”
Statistics have demonstrated the severe limitations of children’s and even adults’ financial literacy, said Ness, “and if we start at a young enough age, these kids can use these concepts as they grow, helping their families and themselves.”
JEC administrators were impressed with the program. “The level of sophistication was appropriate for each age group,” said associate dean Rabbi Eliyahu Teitz, “and we are looking forward to continue partnering with PwC on an ongoing basis as part of a financial literacy program for all of our students for years to come.”
Ness said he had a personal reason for being pleased with the pilot. “To have three of my children participate in the program today and many of my friends and their children participate is very rewarding,” he said.