Harvard University Honors Clerk & Comptroller’s Summer Financial Literacy Program

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A local program for students interested in government is gaining national attention.

The Clerk & Comptroller, Palm Beach County’s Summer Financial Literacy Program was recognized by Harvard University’s Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation at the John F. Kennedy School of Government as a 2017 Innovations in American Government Awards’ Bright Ideas.

The Clerk & Comptroller’s high school student program was developed in 2012 by Shannon Ramsey Chessman, chief operating officer of finance, as a way to provide students with exposure to the world of public and personal finance, public service and job readiness.

Chessman joined CBS12 News This Morning to explain how more than 65 Suncoast High School students have participated in the internship program since its inception.

The Clerk’s Summer Financial Literacy Work Experience program represents innovative government work that improves services, solves problems and works on behalf of the people.

Students participating in the Clerk’s Summer Financial Literacy Work Experience receive an overview of the county Clerk & Comptroller's office and hands-on experiences in government, personal finance, professional development, information technology and the justice system.

While learning about the critical role finance plays throughout the organization, students are exposed to a variety of departmental functions. Students work collectively for portions of the program before breaking into small groups, or "pods," for more granular experiences. Each pod rotates through the finance department, providing valuable, hands-on training.

Student recruitment at Suncoast High School begins in March, and by May, the itinerary is set and students are notified of acceptance to the program. The program runs for 12 business days.

At the conclusion, students receive 72 credits towards community service hours as well as transferable knowledge and life skills concerning finance and the public sector.