In a world that is constantly evolving, nurturing the next generation's talents and skills is crucial for future success. Many communities have formed interactive and educational programs designed to guide middle and high school aged students as they begin to explore future careers. Union State Bank staff volunteer in these various student development programs as an impactful way to invest in the leaders of tomorrow.
Career fairs are a common occurrence in educational institutions, offering students a glimpse into the professional world they aspire to enter. Bank employees volunteering in such events play an invaluable role in shaping students' career paths.
Christina Wilson, VP, Commercial Lending for Union State Bank, has been part of the Oklahoma City chapter of Women In Aviation International (WAI) since day one. She is currently the Chapter’s treasurer and assisted in the creation of the first “Girls in Aviation Day.”
“The event is designed to increase excitement for girls ages 8-18 about jobs in Oklahoma with regards to STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math), mainly aerospace and aeronautics,” Wilson explained.
The free event hosted 500 girls from the OKC metro area. While it was the first event for Wilson’s chapter, WAI has sponsored similar events throughout the country since 2015.
Across the state line, Union State Bank officers spent the day in Burden, Kansas to introduce students to the wide variety of career options available within the banking industry. Central Junior and Senior High Schools hosted the college and career fair.
“It’s great to be here and offer students insights into various roles within the banking industry, stated Cory Helmer, USB’s Market President for Winfield and Udall. “All too often kids here ‘banking’ and automatically assume it is limited to loan officer or teller positions.”
While career fairs offer guidance on different career options and the skills required to excel in a student’s chosen field, one of the essential life skills often lacking in traditional education is financial literacy. Students graduate from high school and college with degrees but are ill-equipped to manage their personal finances. Bank staff volunteering in household budget simulations bridge this gap by teaching students the art of financial responsibility.
The Cowley County Economic Development Office coordinates two household budget simulations for area students each year. Sophomores from Ark City, Burden, Dexter, Oxford, Udall and Winfield attended.
Union State Bank had 30 staff members cover 51 shifts throughout the two days. Brenda Butters, loan officer for USB, was one of the bank’s volunteers.
“Future Finance is a fantastic opportunity for the students to learn how to make informed financial decisions, such as saving for emergencies and managing debt through practical exercises,” Butters said. “It educates students on the fundamentals of budgeting, including income, expenses, savings and provides an example of how the choices they make today could impact their futures.”
Bank staff volunteering in student development programs like career fairs and household budget simulations is a win-win situation. It empowers students to make informed career choices and equips them with essential financial literacy skills, while also enriching the lives of bank employees who volunteer. By fostering this collaboration, we pave the way for a brighter, more knowledgeable, and financially responsible future generation.
About Union State Bank: Founded in 1908, Union State Bank has banking locations serving communities of Arkansas City, Newton, Udall, Winfield, and Wichita in Kansas and in Bartlesville and Edmond, Oklahoma. Union State Bank offers a full range of electronic, deposit and cash management services, as well as business and agriculture, commercial real estate, construction, mortgage, residential and consumer loans. Member FDIC. Equal Housing Lender, NMLS# 412388