Read to Lead, an edtech nonprofit that empowers middle school students to build their literacy, life, and career skills through game-based learning, is embarking on a brand-new partnership with the Financial Inclusion Team (FIT) at the world’s largest asset manager, BlackRock.
Read to Lead and a team of BlackRock FIT volunteers are joining forces to develop a suite of four online learning games that inspire students to strengthen their literacy and leadership skills, explore careers in the financial services industry, and build knowledge on how to make informed financial decisions in their future.
With a generous grant of $50,000 from the BlackRock Employee Network Grant Program, Read to Lead and BlackRock FIT volunteers are engaging in a deeply collaborative game development process. In the initial ideation process, FIT volunteers are sharing their expertise to help Read to Lead create authentic workplace scenarios, characters, challenges, decision points, and consequences based on the realities finance professionals face – while developing important financial literacy and leadership skills along the way.
Following this period of deep collaboration, Read to Lead engineers and content developers will work on building the new learning games, with FIT volunteers playing the learning games and providing feedback. The volunteers will also join middle school students as they playtest the learning games and share their experiences working in financial services to help the students make direct connections between their gameplay and their futures.
“As a founder of BlackRock’s Black Professional Network and a member of our Financial Inclusion Team, I would love to inspire more youth from across the country to gain exposure to careers in finance and develop the financial literacy and leadership skills they need to thrive in their future careers.” – Jabari Magnus, BlackRock Managing Director and Global Head of Portfolio Analytics.
“This is why we founded the FIT network in the first place: We wanted to mobilize our members to play an integral role in helping organizations like Read to Lead pioneer new ways of reaching and empowering students to achieve more secure financial futures and to envision themselves as leaders in the professional world.” – KC Boas, Director of Retirement Solutions at BlackRock.
“Our partnership with BlackRock’s FIT network is essential to expanding the Read to Lead game universe and inspiring students to explore careers in finance. With a focus on asset management and goals-based investing, we are working together to demystify the world of finance, lowering the barriers to entry through a game-based learning approach. This collaboration will provide authentic and engaging content for broader career exploration for students across the country.” – Madison Kinnard, Read to Lead’s project lead for the partnership.
In each of these new learning games, students will become “the boss” in a financial services office, taking on the role of an asset manager. They’ll be encouraged to read closely, think critically, and solve authentic workplace challenges, all in alignment with reading standards and social-emotional learning skill development. To expand on the learning from the games, Read to Lead’s content and curriculum team will also develop lessons that build background knowledge about financial services, introduce new vocabulary, and pose debate questions that promote reflection, critical thinking, and discussion.
Supported by the BlackRock FIT network’s holistic partnership, as well as a generous grant from the Max and Lorayne Cooper Foundation, Read to Lead will launch the new suite of online learning games by October 2022 – be sure to stay tuned for updates on this exciting collaboration!
About Read to Lead
Read to Lead’s mission is to empower middle school students to develop their literacy, life, and career skills. Our unique model combines scenario-based learning games where students get to “be the boss” in an immersive professional workplace with a research-based curriculum. Since our founding in 1992, we have impacted more than one million students nationwide. Learn more at www.readtolead.org
About Read to Lead
Read to Lead uses the power of game-based learning to empower middle school students to build literacy, life, and career skills. Teachers can sign up for a free account to get started!