Like most EARN Savers, Mike Carpio is working hard towards big dreams. Mike started working in high school at a Levi Strauss store in Las Vegas. Even though he’s worked his way up to Retail Services Supervisor, his long term goal is to become a physical therapist.
As the son of hardworking immigrant parents, Mike was determined to become one of the first people in his family to graduate from college. With a whole lot of hard work and a little help from EARN and the Red Tab Foundation, he just graduated.
EARN is proud to partner with the Red Tab Foundation, a needs-based organization serving Levi Strauss & Co. employees and retirees. Several years ago, when the Red Tab Foundation staff noticed that employees were accessing a short-term emergency assistance program designed to help with critical events, such as the death of a partner or major illness, for seemingly minor or routine financial issues like a flat tire, they reached out to EARN for help. EARN and the Red Tab Foundation worked together to develop a program that would help LS&Co. hourly wage employees build a financial cushion and foster a lifetime habit of saving.
The first year of the pilot launched in 2015. Mike was one of the first to sign up. He saved $300 in six months, received $300 in match from the Red Tab Foundation and used the money to pay for non-tuition expenses to get his degree, “Knowing I had savings to pay for things like books and transportation to class relieved a lot of stress,” said Mike.
We just launched the third year of the Red Tab Savers program and the reaction from employees is strong – the initial 80 spots in the program filled up in the first week, so we decided to increase enrollment to 150 Savers. You can read more about our partnership with the Red Tab Foundation, including early results from the pilot and Mike’s story on earn.org.
This response is due, in part, to the positive experiences of employees like Mike. He encourages other LS&Co employees to get involved with the Red Tab Savers Program. According to Mike, “[it] is a great way to start thinking about savings. It helps you develop good financial habits early on.”
Mike is continuing in both his academic and his savings journeys. He is currently studying for his Master’s degree and has plans to enroll in the Levi Strauss & Co 401(k) program. “I’ve started to think about how I can make my money work for me, beyond just putting aside savings in my personal savings account,” he says.
It is hard not to wonder what this country would look like if there were more employers willing to invest in the financial stability of the American workforce. How many more Mike’s would be able to achieve basic resilience in their monthly finances, and then use that foundation to reach for big dreams?
This is the America we envision. We are working hard to pilot innovative new approaches to savings so we can make effective practices like employer-based savings a commonplace reality. As always, we hope you will join us.
Audrey is the Development Manager at EARN. She is responsible for maintaining and growing EARN’s foundation, corporate, and government funding streams.