This Spring, the Cisneros Center is partnering with several nonprofit organizations and Tyson Foods to offer workplace education to immigrant and migrant workers at the Randall Rd. Plant. This novel program allows workers to access services that help them improve their lives and increase their independence.
Credit Counseling of Arkansas is one of the fantastic organizations participating in the Workplace Education Program. Read our interview with Mark Foster, Director of Education at Credit Counseling of Arkansas.
What is Credit Counseling of Arkansas?
We are a non-profit organization that has been around for just over 20 years now helping people with personal finance issues. We’re really personal finance experts. We help people with creating a budget, counseling on credit issues, including credit cards or loans or credit reports. We counsel people on first time home buying, reverse mortgage counseling, and offer mortgage delinquency counseling for people who struggle to make payments and keep home. We recently started student loan counseling. We have a credit report reviews and debt management program to help people get out of debt. They pay their debt in full over five years, but they get lower payments and lower interest rates. We also do financial education classes.
What is the cost of these services for clients?
Many, though not all, of our services are free. Our basic budgeting and credit counseling is free and confidential. Services in budgeting, credit counseling, home-buying counseling, mortgage delinquency counseling, and classes that we offer in the community are free including monthly home-buying class.
Are all services available to people who have a different language backgrounds?
We help in English, Spanish and Marshallese.
Where is Credit Counseling of Arkansas physically located?
Our headquarters is in Fayetteville, Arkansas and we’re also in Fort Smith, Arkansas, and Bentonville, Arkansas. Besides helping people in person inside our offices we also help people online and by phone so they don’t have to be here in the office. It can be particularly helpful for people who have childcare issues, medical, or transportation issues. You can visit our website at ccoacares.com. You can also call us by phone at 1-800-889-4916.
Do you see particular challenges that Arkansas’ immigrant population faces when it comes to financial services?
For many Marshallese, the financial transition is huge. For example, when you see something on sale for $29.99, it really isn't $29.99, it's smacked with taxes on top of it. Some Marshallese say: I thought it was $29.99. All of that is kind of confusing at first.
Another example is down payments, and one guy was confused. One of our educators said he had heard from a Marshallese gentleman who heard about a car that was being sold with a down payment of $500. The gentleman misunderstood and thought it was just $500 dollars to pay for the car outright. Then when the monthly payments started coming in, he was very confused.
We tailor our education very specifically for them. We have a Marshallese educator.
What is your involvement in the Tyson Foods Workplace Education Program?
We’re going to do classes in Spanish and Marshallese on how to avoid a tax scam, rapid refunds, and tax refund spending.
Posted on 04/27/2016 at 10:18:00 AM