What do you call a program that’s been operating in Nevada for 26 years and has served more than 3,000 participants? What do you call a program that offers high school juniors, seniors and college freshmen, both instruction and experience? What do you call a program that also provides lessons in financial management and life skills? What do you call a program that has seen graduates attend Berkeley, Harvard, Howard, Spellman and UNLV? You might call it “unheard of,” but we can assure you it’s called the Clark County Summer Business Institute.
Established in 1996
The Summer Business Institute (SBI) was established by the business community in 1996, to bring employment opportunities to underprivileged youth in Clark County. SBI is a paid, 8-week internship. It splits the week into 2-parts. Interns get their on-the-job training on the first three days of the work week. They’re employed in a variety of industries: architectural and engineering firms, healthcare facilities, construction companies, financial institutions and government agencies. On Thursdays, interns learn crucial life skills, including how to manage their money. This is where SCE Credit Union steps in.
The SCE Credit Union connection
SCE Credit Union provides individual interns 18 and under, with a noncustodial account. That means it’s free from the influence of parents or guardians, and acts as investment in their independence. SBI partners with the Credit Union to facilitate the financial planning component of the program which consists of six salient topics.
The workshops cover budgeting and spending habits, savings and investments, understanding credit, the dangers of debt, banks and credit unions, housing and leasing. Kaveida Allen, SBI’s Program Coordinator and Administrative specialist says, “The workshops SCE Credit Union helped create work wonders. Most public schools don’t provide any financial instruction, so the workshops fill a void. And the knowledge these interns receive ends up being shared with family and friends.”
Allen adds that, “The education SCE Credit Union provides has been excellent. They’ve helped establish a solid financial foundation for our interns. Managing money can be a mundane subject for the age group we work with, but the workshops make it enjoyable and compelling. They realize how crucial it is to their success.”
SBI has been recognized by the National Association of Counties with an Achievement Award for its innovativeness in contributing to and enhancing, county government in the U.S. The most important accolades however, come from the participants themselves.
Rachel F. interned through SBI with Southwest Gas and would eventually attend The George Washington University Law School. She attributes many of her professional skills to her experience with SBI. Michelle C. says the resources SBI provided helped her maintain a 3.7 GPA in college.
The Summer Business Institute helps address inequities, instills confidence and inspires participants to achieve. SBI exists in the here and now, but their work is really about a better future. What do you call a program like this? We call it amazing.
If you’d like to learn more or donate, go to SBI’s Facebook page.