GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - Mississippi students could be seeing a new type of education in their classrooms soon. State Treasurer Lynn Fitch joined the Gulf Coast Business Council for breakfast in Gulfport to explain her TEAM initiative. TEAM stands for Treasurer's Education About Money.
"I think we've done a disservice by not teaching our young people about financial literacy, personal finance, how do they manage their budgets, how do they save," said Fitch.
She said Mississippi has been named among the least financially capable states in the country. She's hoping to change that with a computer-based program for high schoolers that will teach financial literacy.
"We're the first state that's taking this full scale. It's a statewide initiative, so it's exciting to be on the cutting edge," said Fitch.
The initiative is being funded by a public-private partnership. Several sponsors across the state have come together to become a part of the movement.
Hancock Bank CEO John Hairston said he's glad to take part in something like this.
"I'm proud that Mississippi is first to do something. That's a big deal," said Hairston.
Being a banker, he has seen the good that can come from financial stability.
"But I've also seen folks that have a hard time handling the debt once they took it on. So the more we educate our kids, the more they can learn lifelong lessons that ultimately would be beneficial for them and for their families," said Hairston.
He sees Hancock Bank's contribution as an investment in the future of the state.
Treasurer Fitch said this program, designed by a company named EverFi, has already been on a trial run in 100 schools around the state. The students who finished the course showed a 40 percent increase in financial literacy.
She hopes to implement to the program fully in September, but will leave it up to each district to determine how, and if, it's used.