NEW YORK, Oct. 26, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- Voya Financial, Inc. (NYSE: VOYA), announced today that it has awarded the first in a series of scholarships to help veterans and their spouses further a career in financial services. The scholarships, which are awarded through The American College of Financial Services, are available to all qualified applicants but have a specific focus on helping to advance diversity in this field.
Graziella Panetta, a financial counselor for military families, is the first to receive the Voya scholarship, and will pursue the college's Certified Financial Planner® (CFP®) and Chartered Financial Consultant® (ChFC®) designation programs. The scholarships are funded through Voya Foundation, the charitable giving arm of Voya Financial.
"Through this grant, Voya reinforces the importance of financial literacy, one of the foundation's giving priorities. Scholarship recipients benefit, as do the customers and communities they serve. This funding also supports The American College's contribution to diversifying the financial services talent pool, which aligns with Voya's commitment to a diverse and inclusive workforce," said Angela Harrell, head of Voya Foundation and Voya Financial's Office of Corporate Responsibility. "Graziella Panetta serves as a great example of someone who gives back through her love of finance and her dedication to serving others. She shares Voya's commitment to educating and helping clients establish a secure financial future."
"The American College is thrilled to partner with Voya in supporting veterans, active duty personnel, and their spouses in education and second-career opportunities," said Ted Digges, executive director of The American College Penn Mutual Center for Veterans Affairs. "These scholars represent a bright and fresh infusion of talent possessing unique soft skills and a sense of service that translate very well into the financial services industry."
Panetta teaches financial readiness classes and provides one-on-one counseling at the Military and Family Support Center (MFSC) for Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii. She earned a Bachelor of Science degree in business administration with a concentration in finance, as well as a master's degree in business administration from Hawaii Pacific University. Panetta also earned the accredited financial counselor (AFC®) certification from the Association for Financial Counseling and Planning Education (AFCPE®). She and her husband, retired U.S. Marine Corps Master Gunnery Sgt. Jerry Panetta, and their two children reside in Honolulu.
Panetta said she loves her work helping new families make sense of their finances. "Many are so young and getting their first paychecks. It's rewarding to help them get off to a good start," she said.
The scholarship is part of Voya's overall commitment to building stronger communities and more secure financial futures by advancing economic empowerment, particularly among underserved populations. Through its closely aligned broker-dealer, Voya Financial Advisors, Voya has a focus on supporting women financial professionals as a part of its broader efforts, and has been recognized as a "Top IBD for Women" in Financial Planning's 2015 annual broker-dealer survey. Voya's female advisors benefit from dedicated support offered through the Women Advisors Network, which offers mentorship, networking, an annual conference and a college intern program.
"Voya Financial Advisors has a long-standing commitment to the success of women in the financial planning industry," said Angela Kahrmann, head of the Women Advisors' Network at Voya Financial Advisors, Inc. "We know that women today are still significantly underrepresented in this field. With a large number of financial professionals at the cusp of retirement, it is critical to cultivate the next generation of talent. Scholarship programs such as this can help more women, like Graziella, who are poised to pursue these opportunities and grow meaningful financial careers."
The Voya scholarship recipients are chosen independently by The American College of Financial Services based on the merits of their application and without any conditions as to their future career path or professional affiliation. To learn more about the veterans' center and scholarship opportunities, visit Veterans.TheAmericanCollege.edu.
As an industry leader and advocate for greater retirement readiness, Voya Financial is committed to delivering on its vision to be America's Retirement Company™ and its mission to make a secure financial future possible — one person, one family, one institution at a time.
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About Voya Foundation
Voya Foundation's mission is to improve the quality of life in communities where Voya Financial® operates and its employees and customers live. Voya Foundation provides grants and establishes signature partnerships in the areas of financial literacy and children's education and fosters employee engagement to deepen our positive impact on the community. For more information, visit www.voyafoundation.com.
About Voya Financial®
Voya Financial, Inc. (NYSE: VOYA), helps Americans plan, invest and protect their savings — to get ready to retire better. Serving the financial needs of approximately 13 million individual and institutional customers in the United States, Voya is a Fortune 500 company that had $11 billion in revenue in 2014. The company had $484 billion in total assets under management and administration as of June 30, 2015. With a clear mission to make a secure financial future possible — one person, one family, one institution at a time — Voya's vision is to be America's Retirement Company™. The company is equally committed to conducting business in a way that is socially, environmentally, economically and ethically responsible — Voya has been recognized as one of the World's Most Ethical Companies, by the Ethisphere Institute, and as one of the Top Green Companies in the U.S., by Newsweek magazine. For more information, visit voya.com or view the company's 2014 annual report. Follow Voya Financial on Facebook and Twitter @Voya.
About The American College of Financial Services
The American College is the nation's largest non-profit educational institution devoted to financial services. Holding the highest level of academic accreditation, The College has served as a valued business partner to banks, brokerage firms, insurance companies and others since 1927. The American College's faculty represents some of the financial services industry's foremost thought leaders. For more information, visit TheAmericanCollege.edu.
About The American College Penn Mutual Center for Veterans Affairs
The American College Penn Mutual Center for Veterans Affairs provides educational support and career opportunities to eligible men, women, and their spouses who have served in the armed services of the United States. To learn more about the Center and scholarship opportunities, visit Veterans.TheAmericanCollege.edu.
SOURCE Voya Financial