Restaurant Workers Get Free Lessons in Financial Management
By George Anderson
It’s hard to make ends meet when there’s not that much in your paycheck to begin with. But for many low-wage workers in fields such as foodservice and retail, that challenge
is made even more daunting by a lack of understanding on how to manage finances.
A program between a nonprofit immigrant advocacy group, Casa de Maryland, in Silver Spring, and Washington, D.C.-area Pollo Campero franchises provides workers at the Guatemalan
chicken restaurant chain with free financial management classes to help them obtain the knowledge they need to successfully establish a credit history, rent an apartment, buy
a car or pay for further education.
An article in the Washington Post sourcing the Pew Hispanic Center said 22 percent of Latinos do not have a credit history and 42 percent do not use banks or credit unions.
“This is a large number of people who are carrying their money around in their pockets,” said Gustavo Torres, executive director of Casa de Maryland.
Many Latinos, especially undocumented workers, fail to open bank accounts and establish credit because they do not know the requirements for doing so. “All you need is a tax
identification number or a passport,” said Claudia Rodriguez, a financial literacy teacher at Casa de Maryland.
Moderator’s Comment: What are your thoughts on the Casa de Maryland/Pollo Campero financial management education program? Do employers who pay low wages
(near or below poverty level) have a responsibility to their workers to provide information on social services and other programs that can help them make do with the limited financial
resources they have?
– George Anderson – Moderator