Written By: Rebecca Wiggins
Greetings from the national office and happy new year! I know I’m not alone in feeling relieved that we have turned the page and are starting a new year. While we still have much work to do, we enter a new year with a sense of hope and opportunity.
Last year presented many challenges for individuals, organizations, and our country as a whole. The pandemic affected people from all socioeconomic backgrounds, but the gap was even more pronounced for those who were already struggling. At the same time, we grappled with continual systemic inequality in our country.
While the challenges are not over, the events of the last year served as an important reminder. In the midst of it all, we were reminded of how important this organization, and you, our professionals, are in bridging these gaps and building a more equitable future for all people. Despite the obstacles, we were able to accomplish a tremendous amount in an uncertain year:
Highlights from 2020
- Developed Virtual Financial Counseling/Coaching Initiative to support our communities struggling with the financial implications of COVID-19
- Successfully renewed NCCA re-accreditation for the AFC® designation
- Launched NEW Essentials professional development courses for College Finance and Financial Inclusion
- Debuted a new podcast, Real Money, Real Experts and consumer-facing videos, Real Money, Real Answers with AFCPE professionals
This year, we are proud to announce we have successfully renewed accreditation for the AFC designation from the National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA). NCCA is the accrediting body of the Institute for Credentialing Excellence. The NCCA created a unique set of standards in 1977. The NCCA uses these standards to ensure that certification programs adhere to modern standards of practice for the certification industry.
AFCPE joins an elite group of more than 120 organizations, representing over 270 programs, that have received and maintained NCCA accreditation. This achievement ensures that the AFC program aligns with the best practices from an outside accrediting body and demonstrates AFCPE’s commitment to continuous quality improvement. I want to extend a huge thank you to the AFCPE Members and Certification Council, led by Michelle Starkey, our Senior Director of Certification Programs, for all of your time and effort to uphold this important recognition that sets the AFC program apart in the field.
Our First Ever Virtual Symposium
We also revamped our annual symposium to an interactive virtual experience with over 50 hours of content. We covered topics like:
- financial capability for survivors of intimate partner violence,
- research on the financial impacts of the pandemic,
- behavioral economics, and
- financial empathy.
The week was a huge success thanks to the generous support of our sponsors: The USAA Educational Foundation, JPMorgan Chase, FINRA Investor Education Foundation, National Endowment for Financial Education (NEFE), Zeiders Enterprises, Wells Fargo, Farber, Association for Military Banks of America (AMBA), America Saves, Self Lender, Yellow Ribbon Network, BDO Canada, Consolidated Credit Counseling Services of Canada, Goldhar & Associates Ltd, and Independent Canadian Insolvency Network (ICIN).
Ultimately, it was your level of engagement, passion, and connection throughout the week that made it one of the best virtual events of the year. For those who missed the event live, you can still access the content through October 2021!
On the Horizon
As we turn the page to 2021, we have much to look forward to:
Focus on Career
One of our main areas of focus this year will be developing career opportunities for our emerging professionals. This includes updates to our web-based Career Center and even a virtual career fair for AFCPE Members!
Focus on Connection
There has never been a better time to be a Member of AFCPE, with all of the new professional development opportunities, increased benefits and discounts, and the new AFCPE Connected Community message board. We are launching more virtual meet ups and conversations to allow you to connect with one another all year long! If you haven’t joined or renewed your Membership for 2021, now is the time to do so!