Over the past year, ILI created an exciting new curriculum- Financial Literacy—thanks to our partnership with Valley Community Development Center (Valley CDC)Valley Community Development Corp. logo. and a grant through the Massachusetts Growth Capital Corporation. This curriculum is based on FDIC’s Money Smart financial education program. The aim is to improve financial and business knowledge for low- to moderate-income individuals with limited English skills.

This has been an ILI objective for some time. It is a direct result of the encouragement of many students in our free English classes. They expressed a need for greater understanding of financial issues to improve their personal budgeting skills, to help them pursue business opportunities and, in some cases, to support those who already run small businesses.

Led by ILI’s curriculum specialist Samira Artur and ESOL instructors Geordie Morse and Josh Owsley, development of this learner-centered curriculum began in 2021. The team drew from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation’s Money Smart and Money Smart for Small Business materials and from consultation with the Massachusetts Small Business Development Center Network Western Regional Office, the Center for Women and Enterprise, Valley CDC and Common Capital.

A picture that says financial literacy with lots of symbols related to finances..ILI’s team of curriculum writers created modules and lesson plans and began testing the curriculum with students in ILI’s intermediate and advanced free English classes during January and February. The project includes local business professionals who make short presentations and engage the students in question and answer exchanges. The project’s modules incorporate the following modules titled “Money Values and Motivations”, “Bank on It”, “Income and Expenses”, “Budgeting”, “Credit Savvy”, and “Learning about Loans”.

Based on the results of the pilot phase, we will make necessary adjustments and then move forward with Valley CDC to ensure the curriculum is accessible to a wider range of individuals over the next year. Watch this space for updates.