Students in Milaca may soon have an opportunity to learn how banking works firsthand.

The Milaca School District is partnering with the First National Bank of Milaca to help students gain on-the-job experience and learn financial literacy. The school board approved a request for proposal July 19 from First National Bank to open a bank branch inside the school. The board approved the proposal with Rachelle Nelson abstaining.

The program will provide two paid internships throughout the school year to interested students. They will be able to work in the regular bank as well and participate in job shadowing opportunities, according to the proposal submitted by First National.

Students who express interest in working at the bank will fill out an application and the bank will interview the applicants. Students employed in the school branch will be able to work at the main office in Milaca as well. They would be trained in the main branch and offered an opportunity to work there during evenings and Saturdays when the school branch is closed, according to the proposal.

The bank also could hire a student at the end of the school year to work in the main office during the summer and the school office during the school year, according to the proposal.

Bank staff will be present whenever the school branch is operating or student workers are present, and they will be responsible for transferring cash to and from the location. The bank is willing to commit to keeping the branch open for two to three hours on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays while school is in session, though it is willing to expand or change those hours if the school and the bank find it mutually beneficial to do so, according to the proposal.

The school branch would offer checking and saving accounts as well as certificates of deposit. Students between ages 13-17 can open a teen savings account, with a parent or legal guardian as a co-owner. Teen savings accounts offer free online banking as well as other services such as mobile deposit, person-to-person payments and paying bills. Without a parent’s signature, kids may only open a savings account. A student ID is considered acceptable identification for opening an account, according to the proposal.

The bank does not have a minimum balance requirement for teen and kid savings accounts. It recommends a $100 a day limit on cash withdrawals and $250 limit on point-of-sale transactions per day, according to the proposal.

The bank is willing to provide all the necessary equipment, including computer work stations, security cameras, alarms, a safe and more, according to the proposal.

While working in the branches, students will be able to learn how to interact with customers, handle confidential information, verify cash, manage a cash drawer and more. The bank would help develop programs to teach students the importance of money, credit and responsible financial planning for the future. The bank also will offer field trips and classroom visits for younger students, according to the proposal.

Superintendent David Wedin spoke during the meeting to highlight how the district partners with local businesses to help teach and retain students in the community. He pointed to the partnership with Heggies Pizza as one of the school’s biggest success with these partnerships.

The plans for the school branch began before Wedin’s tenure, but were halted due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Wedin said. The district was able to send out the request for proposals and received one back from the First National Bank of Milaca.

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