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Ask the Expert

What is the Cleveland Fed doing to teach young people about careers and why?

As appeared in the Cleveland Fed Digest's Ask the Expert


We have found that exposing students to a variety of career options outside of what they’ve seen in their neighborhoods, in their families, and on TV allows them to see other perspectives, giving them the opportunity to think beyond familiar career tracks. Most students aren’t introduced to possible career paths until late in their educational journeys. Therefore, our team conducts career days, both at school and off site at a place of business, to allow students to break from their usual daily instruction, giving them exposure to a variety of professionals from whom they can gain information and guidance that may influence their career decision making in the future. This April, the Cleveland Fed hosted its first career day, introducing students from low- and moderate-income backgrounds to Fed careers including those in information technology, law enforcement, and cash.

As economic education coordinators for the Cleveland Fed’s Learning Center and Money Museum, we continually do outreach throughout the Fourth District (Ohio, western Pennsylvania, the northern panhandle of West Virginia, and eastern Kentucky) and provide regular programming through our Money Museum and other departments at this Federal Reserve Bank. We are also invited to visit schools to deliver career content to students of all ages. Our presentations are designed to introduce students to the Fed, some of the career options available, and the role the Fed plays in America’s economy. Our target audience is students who come from lower- and moderate-income backgrounds, as typically they are less often exposed to career paths relating to the financial sector. Providing materials such as our Great Minds Think workbook gives these students foundational knowledge about savings, budgeting, and other topics with the hope of influencing them to make conscious financial decisions.

With our Fed Scholars program, we partner with community organizations, providing summer internship employment to local high school students. Through this paid, seven-week experience, students meet employees around the Bank, learn about career paths, gain work and life skills, help out in the Learning Center and Money Museum, and complete a group capstone project.

Following all of our outreach programming, we gather feedback through follow-up questionnaires sent to participants and those we’ve partnered with to gauge the impact our programming has had and what we can do to improve our efforts. We’ve learned this much: Both career days and external presentations are a great way for organizations to reach an audience with the hope of influencing and inspiring students to make positive career choices.

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