By Rachel Wulff

RANCHO CORDOVA (CBS13) — Improving literacy is a goal at all schools, but what about financial literacy?

According to one study, 18 percent of 15-year-olds nationwide don’t know how to build a budget, comparison shop, or understand an invoice.

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“Business is one of those things we are supposed to always know, but we don’t,” said Cordova High School teacher Ryan Scott.

Scott has worked at Cordova High for seven years. His dream was to teach students about finances.

“So I just kind of went out shopping around and SAFE Credit Union kind of picked up that ball,” Scott said.

He worked with the bank to develop an on-campus branch manned by students, for students.

“What I will be doing is helping students open up checking and savings and helping them improve their financial literacy as well,” said 16-year-old Auden Gregory.

Gregory participated in a two-week summer internship so he could work there.

“Because it’s better to start now than when you are off in college and don’t know what to do,” Gregory said.

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These branches are currently in place at three high schools: Cordova, Mesa Verde and Rio Linda.

“We’re really excited to do this for our local high schools,” said Tracy Bezanson, a financial wellness manager with SAFE Credit Union.

When the interns come onboard, they follow the same training program offered to branch professionals.

“They learn about the same systems, even some leadership development,” Bezanson said. “They learn presentation skills, they learn how to serve our members and it positions them well when they come onboard with us – or when they go to train their fellow students at school.”

It sets up a potential career path. But, more importantly, it helps establish good financial habits.

“Knowing how to make your car loan, your house payment, how to make decisions that are going to have a potential negative impact on our life,” said Principal Jerad Hyden.

Scott hopes this is the wave of the future at high schools.

“The lightbulb definitely goes on. They do grab onto it and really grow,” he said.

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SAFE Credit Union is also offering financial workshops on college campuses including Sacramento State, UC Davis, and eventually American River College.