Two years ago, Ally Financial, a financial services company, hired four interns from Historically Black Colleges and Universities through their Moguls in the Making program to promote financial literacy in younger students. The four college students, Erin Martin (Alabama A&M), Earl Perry and Keishon Smith (Florida A&M), and DeMari Tyner (North Carolina A&T) designed Fintropolis, a world in Minecraft, available now for free in Minecraft and Minecraft: Education Edition.
“Students who don’t learn how to handle money and make smart financial choices will have a tougher time throughout their lives,” said Smith. “Ally challenged us to find a solution, so we dug in and did our homework. We quickly realized to get middle schoolers to pay attention and learn, we had to make it fun and hands-on. I played Minecraft throughout school and knew how much kids of all backgrounds loved it. When we tested our concept on students, I wasn’t surprised to see how quickly they took to it.”
The four college students interned at Ally over the summer, conducting in-person and phone interviews with middle school students, teachers, and parents. The students worked with Ally’s development lab TM Studio and a video game developer, Blockworks, to create the Minecraft world.
In Fintropolis, player can learn about money, taxes, budgeting, credit, debt, and investing, as well as getting introduced to critical financial decisions and possible career options. Minecraft: Education Edition also includes lesson plans for using Fintropolis in the classroom.
The four students were presented with a $10,000 donation to their schools from Ally. Three of the interns have been hired by Ally as full-time employees after graduating.