MidSouth Community Federal Credit Union has gone back to school.
The Macon-based credit union coordinated with Bibb County School District to officially unveil its new student-run credit union branch inside the district’s Hutchings College and Career Academy on Tuesday.
“We work to be significant in our community and we’re significant when we impact lives,” said MidSouth President and CEO Roy Bibb. “We’re excited to help students get not just career-ready, but into a career right now.”
Six high school seniors staff the fully-functioning branch located in the school. The young employees are all a part of the Bibb County School District’s Youth Apprenticeship Program, which allows students to spend a portion of their school day working a real-world job for pay as well as school credit.
The credit union branch lives in Hutchings, but MidSouth has opened the employment opportunity to Youth Apprenticeship students across the school district.
The students managing the new branch may be younger than MidSouth’s usual hires, but Bibb said they’re held to the same high standards. The students began training in December and underwent the same HR processes as all MidSouth employees when they were hired. They’re expected to dress and act professionally. They’ll even attend MidSouth’s annual staff meeting in February.
“The students do everything we ask of our regular staff members,” Bibb said. “They’re held to the same quality of work and everything. The students are really getting real world experience. It’s not watered down whatsoever.”
That’s helped young staff members like senior Trinity Alexandria Durden understand the industry and how they might someday fit into it. Durden been working as a teller at the branch since its soft opening Jan. 8.
“It’s definitely been great so far,” she said. “I’m actually thinking about going into accounting when I graduate. I probably wouldn’t have decided to go into accounting if I di
dn’t work here. I wasn’t really sure I’d like it. But I realize I really like it, now.”
Jamie Jordan, the manager of the Georgia Department of Economic Development’s High Demand Career Initiative Program, said that kind of early career insight will be invaluable to Georgia’s economic future. It’s his job to act as a liaison between the state’s business community and its schools – to make sure talented Georgia students become talented Georgia employees.
“As the U.S. economy has continued to improve over the year, we’ve also seen Georgia’s economy thriving and growing,” Jordan said. “There are a lot of companies looking at Georgia or at this region either to open here for the first time or to expand here. Their number one issue, at least for now, is going to be whether we have a workforce.”
Partnerships like the one between MidSouth and Hutchings help cultivate that workforce.
“This is where it all comes together,” Jordan said. “This is where we see true success for our students and our business community.”
Student-run credit union branches are still a relatively new concept in Georgia. Georgia United Credit Union opened a branch in the Academy for Advanced Studies in Henry County in January 2016. In August 2016, MembersFirst Credit Union opened a branch in Hiram High School and in October 2016, Peach State Federal Credit Union opened a branch in Central Gwinnett High School.
MidSouth may have recently joined the trend, but the credit union isn’t new to partnering with local schools. It opened as a credit union for Bibb County Teachers in 1936.
“We never moved away from our support of education,” Bibb said. “Our credit union is successful if it has a positive impact on lives and the community. We believe, since we grew up as an educators’ credit union, that partnering with students can achieve both.”
The student-run branch has lofty goals for the future of its student employees and its community’s economics – but it’s also a normally functioning branch striving to help its members afford life.
“We’re open to the public,” Bibb said. “We want to serve a community in need of financial services.”
MidSouth Community Federal Credit Union members can conduct their banking at the new branch at 1780 Anthony Road. It’s opened Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
The branch will also host a community awareness event Saturday from 11:30 a.m. until 3 p.m.