BACKGROUND ON THE TASK FORCE
Aiming to strengthen Vermonters’ financial futures, Champlain College’s Center for Financial Literacy launched the Financial Literacy Task Force in late April, 2014. The mission of the Task Force is to help policymakers understand the dimensions of the financial illiteracy problem in the state and to make recommendations that would provide a path for all Vermonters to obtain the personal finance knowledge and skills that they need to succeed. The Vermont Financial Literacy Task Force is composed of 20 people from education, government, business and the nonprofit sector with deep knowledge about the financial challenges Vermonters face.
At the initial meeting in June, the Task Force reviewed relevant data, clarified goals and objectives, discussed its charge and agreed on a process to accomplish it. The Task Force was then divided into three discrete committees, focused on K -12 education, college education and adults. A variety of meetings were held from early June through November.
The committees were charged with making no more than five recommendations each. The committees were also given the following selection criteria for identifying recommendations:
• Will this impact many Vermonters? Recommendations should materially increase the financial literacy and/or capability of a large number of Vermonters. The impact of each recommendation should be based on the number of individual lives positively impacted.
• Is the recommendation actionable? Recommendations should have a high likelihood of being implemented when applying a “more likely than not” standard.
• Are proposed recommendations the best from the pool of available options? Committee members should review potential options widely and agree on recommendations that apply best practices suited to Vermont.
There were two full Task Force meetings and three meetings of each committee. The Task Force members each spent approximately 17 hours in Task Force and committee meetings and spent numerous hours between meetings doing research on these topics. We estimate that Task Force members spent more than 400 hours collectively on this project.