Hiway was awarded a pair of Financial Empowerment Community Awards by the City of St. Paul and the Financial Empowerment Community Council for their impact and innovation within financial empowerment across the City. Hiway received the top honor in the Youth category and an honorable mention in the Innovation category.

“Hiway has a long-standing commitment to the city of St. Paul, St. Paul Public Schools and to the communities that we serve, particularly to the youth in those communities,” said Tina Jones, Hiway Credit Union Community Outreach Director. “We are honored to be recognized by the City and by the Financial Empowerment Community Council for our work. We are always looking for opportunities to make our communities more vibrant and our youth more comfortable and confident when it comes to earning, saving and spending and working in the financial industry.”

Hiway Credit Union operates four high school branches in St. Paul High Schools at Como Park, Highland, Harding and Johnson. Through a long-standing partnership with the City of St. Paul’s Right Track program, Hiway assists with training, hiring and supporting the students as they develop their employment skills. Hiway helps them learn about working for a credit union throughout the summer and then places them in their school branches. At the high school branches, students can set up an account and learn to complete traditional teller transactions, open savings and checking accounts and get financial advice. Along with the Right Track student interns, a Hiway School Branch Coordinator is on hand to assist all the students and to provide foundational knowledge necessary to manage one’s finances.

In 2022, Hiway launched an interactive simulation “Reality Fair,” branded Accelerate, where students experience adulthood and living on their own. In the Accelerate fair, participants are given a career, a salary and marital status. They have expenses to manage including student loans and credit card debt and they also receive a credit score. Students are then asked to make decisions around housing, childcare, food, transportation, and entertainment, while trying to understand and spend wisely on their needs and wants. The students also need to create a personal budget to follow. As they progress along this “financial road of life” unexpected expenses will occur, and the students then need to manage through them and make decisions on how and where to spend.