Connecticut College Students Learn Financial Lessons from Experts

Nearly 200 Housatonic Community College (HCC) and students from Central High School gained real-world financial insights and lessons from leaders at an interactive workshop designed to prepare them to secure their financial futures.

HCC Students

Students engaged in an interactive discussion, surveys and Q&A on topics such as establishing smart spending practices, creating a financial plan, paying for student loans, saving on a limited budget, and diversifying investments.

The event, held during Financial Literacy Month in April, was sponsored by Patriot Bank as part of its mission to help educate the next generation on this critical topic. “Acquiring sound financial habits and making smart money decisions at a younger age will prove beneficial for a lifetime, helping young people secure their financial futures,” said Patriot Bank President Richard Muskus Jr. “Patriot Bank is encouraged that so many young people are being engaged in this topic and that Housatonic is supporting it through many initiatives, such as newly created coursework.”


Among the key questions asked by participants, many of whom are beginning to make first-time money decisions as they gain financial independence were: “How do I create a budget?” “Can I save money without a job?” “What financial advice can I ask from my parents?”

HCC Dr. Pasierb

A survey by Patriot found that while 54% of Housatonic students are regularly saving, 46% are not.

Speakers included Mr. Muskus; Dr. Michael Brown, HCC’s Dean of Academic Affairs; Bernard Pasierb, HCC Instructor of Business Administration; Charles Mayrick, HCC Assistant Professor of Business and Economics; and Beverly Hoppie, Director of Education and Community Engagement at the Bridgeport Neighborhood Trust. Pam Pirog, HCC Professor of Entrepreneurship and Accounting, moderated the event.

Central Valley High School students

“It was great to partner with Patriot Bank to offer the money management panel focused on financial literacy. Both the College and Patriot Bank place a high value on personal financial responsibility as a means for a successful life. We are committed to increasing financial awareness and literacy among diverse and emerging populations,” said Housatonic Community College President Dr. Paul Broadie. “Providing individuals with the tools and knowledge to understand and effectively manage their finances is essential. It is important for us to engage high school and college students in financial literacy education as it positions them to be good stewards of their finances. I look forward to future partnerships with Patriot Bank whose mission, like ours, places a keen focus on serving as a resource and addressing the needs of the community.”

HCC Panelist Beverly Hoppie

Panelists and participants both shared personal finance stories, as well as resources and tips, to help with financial planning and managing their current and future earnings and obligations. Housatonic and Patriot will present a second seminar in the fall semester as part of their collaboration in teaching financial literacy skills.

Housatonic is one of six community colleges in Connecticut to offer a personal finance course. It was added this year as a business elective class after Business Administration Professors Bernard Pasierb and Mary Ann Vlahac recognized significant student interest in gaining the knowledge and skills needed to make informed lifelong financial decisions. The course teaches money management, goal setting, budgeting, saving, taxes, consumer credit, automobiles, housing, insurance, investment vehicles, retirement and estate planning.

HCC Panelist Dr. Brown

A two-year state college, Housatonic specializes in offering STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math) programs for students earning their Associate in Arts and Associates in Science degrees and helps them begin their careers. Its 9-month Advanced Manufacturing Program has achieved a 100% job placement success rate for graduates.

Photos courtesy of Housatonic Community College