I recently had the opportunity to participate in a special Career Connections Day in support of Rutgers University’s Future Scholars program. About 50 eighth graders from Camden’s public schools enjoyed a day of networking with several regional businesses and organizations. The students broke into teams and took field trips to three businesses for tours and in-depth views of their operations. We had the pleasure of hosting a team at the Camden Branch and also at our regional headquarters on the Camden Waterfront.
Beyond the 3 Rs — reading, ‘riting and ‘rithmetic — programs like this expose youth to another “R” – rubbing elbows, or networking. Networking with potential future employers expands the experiences of students outside of the classroom. While visiting the branch, students spoke with tellers, a financial services representative and the branch manager. They asked about the requirements to work in a bank and the type of information needed to open an account.
One student in particular described how his mother talked to him about credit, the importance of paying bills on time and being responsible in finances. It was rewarding to be able to reinforce what he was learning at home. I liked having the opportunity to speak with him and the other students about the importance of credit and responsibly managing money in preparation for buying a car, a home, and even applying for a job.
As a banker born and reared here in Camden, I see the value to programs like this for several reasons:
- Hosting a group of students gives us the opportunity to discuss, describe, and provide examples on the importance of mathematics in high school.
- This exposure can prepare students for a post-college career in banking, finance, and the other industries they visited.
- It encourages students to know that Camden has businesses interested in being a part of their current and future success.
As the Career Connections program concluded, students heard from Joseph Lizza, President of Susquehanna Bank’s Delaware Valley Division, who presented the bank’s donation of more than $61,000 to Camden Chancellor Wendell Pritchett in support of the Rutgers Future Scholars program in Camden.