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together we chart the path.

Financial Empowerment

The Training Fund offers a range of completely free Financial Empowerment services for students, their families and the community.

Click on any category heading for more information.

  • Financial Empowerment Counseling
    The Financial Empowerment Center offers free financial counseling to all Philadelphia residents regardless of education, income, or financial background. Our professional counselors help clients with a variety of different issues including debt management, credit management, and saving. We believe that everyone should have the opportunity to learn about the money issues that affect them. Basic financial education and support can reduce confusion and stress surrounding money management, so we’re happy to schedule a free session with anyone who needs it.

    Improve Your Credit
    Your credit can have a big impact on your life; it’s important that you understand how to read your credit report and how to manage your credit score. At the Financial Empowerment Center, we will help you:
    Pull your credit report and reviewing with you.
    Develop a payment plan to pay off any debts.
    Call your creditors to negotiate rates and fees.
    Identify and solve identity theft and fraud problems.
    Reduce Your Debt
    Having debt can affect your credit score and limit the amount of money you’re able to save. Reducing debt is a big step in gaining control of your finances. At the Financial Empowerment Center, we will help you:
    Connect with new sources of income that can help you to make ends meet.
    Create a plan to pay down your debt.
    Pay back student loans.
    Contact and report debtors who are harassing you.
    Save Your Money
    Saving money makes it a lot easier to plan for your future. It’s important to have access to the money that you need, when you need it. At the Financial Empowerment Center, we will help you:
    Figure out how much you need for an emergency savings fund.
    Create a savings plan that will help you to reach your goals.
    Find you a safe and affordable savings account.
    Work out a financially stable retirement plan.
    Protect Your Money
    You’ve worked too hard for your money to have it disappear. We want to make sure that you can identify and avoid scams and solve problems related to identity theft. At the Financial Empowerment Center, we will help you:
    Identify and solve identity theft and fraud problems.
    Avoid consumer scams.
    Gain independence from payday lenders and check cashers.

    For more information, please contact Michelle Heyward-Ramsey at 267-483-7045.

    More information about Philadelphia's Financial Empowerment Centers is available at
  • Citizens Bank® "Financial Fitness for Your Finances" Classes
    Free financial literacy classes, open to students, District 1199C union members, their families, and the community! Set financial goals, manage cash flow and build net worth, understand insurance and investment, and make credit work for you.

    For more information, please contact Michelle Heyward-Ramsey at 267-483-7045.
  • Free Tax Preparation
    The Training Fund's 2016 Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) site begins offering free tax prep to students, union members, retirees and their families in January. For schedule and requirements, visit

    The Campaign for Working Families, in partnership with District 1199C, offers e-file & paper returns (federal & state), direct deposit, FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) and public benefits applications and access to fairly-priced financial products. This service allows families to maximize federal and state tax credits, including the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) during each tax season.

    For more information, please contact Dawn Johnson at 215-568-2220.
  • Benefit Bank
    Benefit Bank removes obstacles to help people attain stability and self-sufficiency. It is a web-based service that simplifies and centralizes the application process for many state and federal benefits for low- and moderate-income individuals and families. Through its eligibility screening tool, The Benefit Bank can ensure that people are fully aware of applicable benefits and it helps maximize the benefits and tax refunds for people. The "one-stop-shop" concept of The Benefit Bank reduces the time needed to apply for benefits. The Benefit Bank is a free service for District 1199C students. Services offered include: FASFA, Taxes, Home Rebate, LIHEAP, SNAP, Medical & Cash Assistance, Prescriptions and Voter’s Registration.

    For more information, please contact Dawn Johnson at 215-568-2220.
  • College Admissions & FAFSA Workshops
    We host multiple workshops throughout the year to inform and support individuals and families with the college application and financial aid process.

    For more information, please contact Kristine Kochel at 215-568-2220.

Financial Empowerment in Action!

1199C member Johnnie Singleton purchased a home thanks to the knowledge and understanding he gained through the Training Fund's Financial Fitness for Your Finances course 

Johnnie Singleton is an Operating Room Attendant at Temple University Hospital and a District 1199C union member. Through the Training Fund, he attended a Personal Financial Planning course to improve his understanding about money matters. Johnnie’s primary goal was to purchase his first home, but he was very intimidated by the home buying process. He knew that he needed to get his financial house in order first. Through the Fund’s Personal Financial Planning course, he learned how to prioritize his money goals as an initial step, and to develop an overall plan that would help him systematically reach his goals.

Creating a budget would help him determine how he spent his money, and would also let him know just how much house he could afford. He set up a checking account to pay bills and track his spending. Purchasing a home would require Johnnie to have adequate credit. He learned how to understand how credit works, how to check his credit and how to establish or improve it. He also set a savings goal as part of his plan.

Johnnie did get his financial house in order. After going through the course, not only was he much more confident about how to manage his money, he ultimately accomplished his goal of purchasing a home in New Castle, Delaware. He encourages every union member to take the Training Fund's Citizens Bank® "Financial Fitness for Your Finances" Classes, because of the help these classes offered him.

For more information about "Financial Fitness for Your Finances" classes,  please contact Michelle Heyward-Ramsey at 267-483-7045.

 The Training Fund's Financial Empowerment Programming
would not be possible without the generous support of our partners: