Urban Strategies Council is pleased to announce that Stephen Watkins has joined the staff  as our new program associate for income and asset development, effective August 1, 2014. Stephen’s work will focus on the integration of asset development services into workforce development programs to provide a sound financial platform for those transitioning from training into employment. He also will have responsibility for staffing the Alameda County Community Asset Network (AC-CAN) and implementation of the AC CAN Savvy Consumer Initiative which includes training on predatory financial products, the Banking Menu to help consumers locate the best bank account and the Resource Directory to help consumers locate asset development services.

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Stephen previously spent three years in community asset building at the Mission Economic Development Agency (MEDA) serving as an instructor, financial capability coach, and program manager for an innovative financial education program serving low- and moderate-income families. His efforts were critical in establishing program goals and outcomes, and in creating enduring partnerships with various community stakeholders. Stephen’s career also features several formative years in the banking and financial services sector, where he worked as a both regulatory compliance specialist and financial advisor at the wealth management firm Merrill Lynch.  In his position at the Council, Stephen’s career is coming full circle from his early years as a Peace Corps microfinance volunteer in Guinea, West Africa.  Stephen holds a J.D. from University of Oregon and an A.M. from Harvard University. He is listed as a Certified Personal Finance Counselor with the Institute for Financial Literacy.

Welcome aboard Stephen!