FROM THE EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, July 2021

In this month’s issue of HR News, we focus on financial wellness.

Cara Woodson-WelchWe are proud to share tips and also highlight state and local government entities working hard to provide financial wellness information to their employees. This is all made possible by a national initiative funded by the Wells Fargo Foundation (WFF), which awarded a total of $1.4 million in grants to 24 state and local government entities to establish or improve employee financial wellness programs.

SPECIAL REPORT

Educating State & Local Government Workers on Financial Wellness

The grants were awarded in September 2020 as nearly 19 million state and local government employees were serving on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic. During the crisis, state and local governments confronted significant budget shortfalls. Workers continue to be very concerned about family finances. Survey findings reported by the Center for State and Local Government Excellence (SLGE) revealed 54 percent of public employees felt their family experienced negative financial impacts from the pandemic. More than half of the respondents were also worried about their family finances, losing their job, furloughs and pay and benefit reductions.

The financial wellness initiative was structured as a collaboration between SLGE, IPMA-HR. the National Association of State Treasurers’ Foundation (NASTF) and the WFF. IPMA-HR is honored to be part of this initiative. We’ve been serving the needs of public sector employees for more than 100 years. As times change, it is no longer enough to only plan for retirement in the future. The public sector workforce deserves resources to develop financial plans for now. A public sector employee with financial security will be happier, more engaged and in a better position to serve.

Grant recipients represented a broad array of state and local employers from 17 states, the District of Columbia and the U.S. Virgin Islands. They are as follows:

  • Central Carolina Community College, N.C.
  • City of Allen, Texas
  • City of Cleveland, Ohio, Department of Human Resources Wellness Works! Program
  • City of Columbus, Ohio
  • City of Elizabeth City, N.C.
  • City of Moreno Valley, Calif.
  • City of Peoria, Ariz.
  • City of Ridgefield, Wash.
  • City of Roanoke, Va.
  • City of West Columbia, S.C.
  • Economic Empowerment Trust Fund, Office of the Massachusetts State Treasurer
  • Finance Authority of Maine
  • Government of the District of Columbia
  • Iowa Insurance Division
  • Lewis and Clark County, Mont.
  • Milwaukee County Transit System, Wis.
  • Montgomery County Intermediate Unit, Pa.
  • Nebraska State Treasurer’s Office
  • Office of the Illinois State Treasurer
  • Pennsylvania Treasury
  • San Diego County Water Authority, Calif.
  • State of Wisconsin Employee Trust Funds and the Department of Financial Institutions
  • Town of Victor, N.Y.
  • University of the Virgin Islands Employee Financial Literacy Program

Each grant recipient was given the opportunity to develop or expand customized financial wellness programs for employees and their families to help them navigate financial challenges now or in the future, reduce debt, save for retirement or reach other financial goals. In this issue, we are thrilled to present profiles of

  • The Nebraska Public Employees Financial Wellness Program, a collaborative effort of the Nebraska State Treasurer’s Office and the Nebraska Council on Economic Education; and
  • Financial Education for Massachusetts Employees and Retirees, created by the Massachusetts Office of the Treasurer and Receiver General.

In addition to awarding the grants, we worked with NASTF and SLGE to create free online tools that are available to anyone, not just grantees. Take a look at IPMA-HR’s Financial Wellness page to access the tools and other great resources. One of my favorites is the State Financial Education Census Map maintained by NASTF. This amazing tool provides access to 51 fact sheets via a clickable U.S. map so users can learn how each state and the District of Columbia is assisting its employees and constituents.

All the resources are designed to benefit every government institution/employer in the country, along with all of their employees and employees’ families. You can read more about these tools from the article titled “5 Interactive Tools to Make Your Financial Wellness Program a Slam Dunk.”

Cara Woodson Welch
ipma@ipma-hr.org