A number of our local chapter affiliates implement NASP’s financial literacy initiative for high school students called the Wall Street Finance and Scholastic Training Program (FAST Track) and was launched in November 1996 by the New York City Chapter of NASP. The purpose of the program is to expose and educate high school students on various aspects of the financial services industry, including employment opportunities.
Participants must be in grade 9 or higher and in good academic standing and participate in an application process which includes providing essays and letter of recommendations.
The programs run autonomously under the leadership of FAST Track Committees within the chapter and many chapter members volunteer their time and expertise during sessions. Oversight and support is provided by the national office of NASP. Many of the firms at which NASP members are personnel provide sponsorship and in-kind donations to the FAST Track program.
The FAST Track Curriculum consists of:
- Informational sessions on Stocks, Bonds, Personal Finance, Business Operations, and Real Estate
- Individual homework assignments, text book and experiential learning through group projects and competitions including stock market simulation
- Resume Writing, public speaking techniques, business etiquette
- On-site tours and visits to financial and educational institutions
- Interaction with mentors and professionals from the financial services industry
- In the summer following the FAST Track school year, a select number of students are given an opportunity to apply their newfound knowledge while working for a financial services company. Some of the firms that have hired students for the summer are: BNY Mellon, Magna Securities, the NJ Dept of Treasury, City of NY Department of Finance, and New Amsterdam Partners.
- At the Annual Wall Street Hall of Fame Dinner and Induction Ceremony FAST Track participants practice and learn the value of networking skills. Proceeds from this dinner help fund the scholarship fund.
- In addition to learning about the various segments of the securities industry, the curriculum for FAST Track New York includes lessons in entrepreneurship, interview preparation techniques, networking skills, and more.
- The Philadelphia F.A.S.T Track participants meet every third Saturday of each month at FIS Group, Inc. The sessions are geared to cover financial literacy, current events and public speaking.
- Two of our Philadelphia F.A.S.T. Track participants addressed an audience of over 300 at our Joyce Johnson Awards luncheon during the 2008 Annual Pension and Financial Services conference held in Philadelphia.
- In 2009, the Philadelphia F.A.S.T. Track participants took a day trip to the NYSE Euronext and got a chance to interact with traders on the floor, meet senior level management including Robert Marchman, Executive Vice President in New York Stock Exchange Regulation. As an added treat, the group was able to screen “Wall Street in the Black” an educational documentary about the unheralded success and challenges of African Americans in the financial services industry.
- 2011 is NASP Southern California’s first year with a FAST Track program and they have chosen a group of eight college bound high school seniors from Compton, CA who intend to study finance and/or business to be the first class to launch the FAST Track program for the chapter. $10,000 has already been raised by NASP Southern California towards their scholarships.
- The program was highlighted in a special edition of the show “Morning Joe” on MSNBC in June 2011 due to their efforts in professional and entrepreneurship development for youth at Crenshaw High School.
- NASP Chicago has had such success with its program, that it has outgrown its current space and is in the process of securing a new location. Local retirement systems, including Chicago Teachers Pension Fund have provided space for students to meet with mentors and instructors. Partners included the Posse Foundation.
- Students practice personal financial management skills with an on-going project in which students randomly chose a profession, with an average annual salary from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Students then drew up a personal monthly budget based on that annual salary, with average monthly expenses for a resident of the Chicago metro area (rent, utilities, food, transportation, etc.).
- This chapter’s FAST Track program maintains a blogsite which includes articles and investment terms glossary as well as other updates.
- The program includes a finals presentation where NASP Chicago membership, parents, sponsors, and other firms attend.
- The Detroit chapter partners with Money Matters For Youth, which includes a five-day summer camp for students aged 8 through 18. The workshops at the camp teaches young people financial literacy in investment strategies and gives youth exposure to economics, budgeting, Wall Street and other resources to help set a foundation for a financially responsible life. Financial literacy sessions are led by professionals from Michigan First Credit Union and other area financial services firms.
- The Detroit chapter utilizes the annual ENCORE event held in April to fund scholarships for high school students, and have awarded over $100k over the years.