U.S. Treasurer to Visit OSU Extension's Spanish Financial Literacy Class

June 16, 2003

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- U.S. Treasurer Rosario Marín, the highest-ranking Latina in the Bush administration, will visit Ohio State University Extension's Spanish-language financial literacy course June 23 in the Columbus suburb of Gahanna. The class will be held at Shepherd Church of the Nazarene, 425 S. Hamilton Rd. from 6:30-9 p.m. The first foreign-born U.S. Treasurer, Marín learned about the Latino Financial Literacy Program through the Ohio Credit Union Foundation, which sponsors this free educational service along with Columbus-based credit unions OhioHealth, Telhio and Western. "We are thrilled about this visit and Treasurer Marín's interest to see what we are doing in Ohio to help the Hispanic community," said course instructor Rubén Nieto, Latino outreach program manager with OSU Extension in Franklin County. "The fact that a person of her caliber is taking the time to visit our class speaks a lot about her commitment to community outreach." The four-session, four-week course was first offered in 2002 to help central Ohio’s growing Hispanic population become more educated about personal finance. In the program's pilot year, more than 225 individuals from 12 Latin American countries attended at least one of the classes, and 53 percent of them completed the course and graduated. Developed by Nieto, the course curriculum covers budgeting, setting financial goals, establishing and maintaining good credit, and gaining access to financial products and services. Classes are offered from February through December and hosted by area churches and community organizations. Early this year, the course received certificates of recognition from the Columbus City Council and Ohio Governor Bob Taft. "We are very excited about the national interest that this program has generated and all the things we have accomplished," said Sue Helmreich, manager of outreach programs for the Ohio Credit Union League. "We are hoping that other communities will develop their own financial education programs using this course as a model." Because of the financial literacy program's success in Columbus, Nieto and Helmreich are looking for grants and sponsors to offer similar courses in other Ohio cities whose Hispanic populations are on the rise -- Cincinnati, Cleveland, Dayton and Toledo. According to the most recent U.S. Census, Ohio’s Hispanic population grew 32 percent between 1990 and 2000, reaching 240,000. However, OSU Extension faculty and staff who work with this group believe the actual number is much higher. Appointed to the U.S. Treasury in 2001, Marín was born in Mexico and moved with her parents to the United States when she was 14. The former mayor of Huntington Park, Calif., she has traveled the country promoting financial literacy and trying to get more lower-income people into the banking system, helping them set up savings and checking accounts. OSU Extension is the outreach arm of Ohio State's College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences. Editor: Reporters are welcome to attend the class. For details, contact Mauricio Espinoza at (330) 202-3550 or espinoza.15@osu.edu.

Author(s): 
Mauricio Espinoza
Source(s): 
Sue Helmreich