We hear it all the time – “I can’t find great employees!”
With the improving economy, many of our members are having trouble finding people with the knowledge and skills they need to help their business grow and thrive. One program designed to address this need is Pennsylvania Free Enterprise Week (PFEW). This award-winning summer economics education program has benefited our local students for over 40 years. PFEW immerses rising high school juniors and seniors in the world of business, allowing them to experience firsthand what you face each day. Offered by the Foundation for Free Enterprise Education, PFEW was founded to teach students about the American private enterprise system and help students develop skills that make them the great employees and employers of the future. PFEW annually holds five week-long sessions in July and August on the campuses of Lycoming College and the Pennsylvania College of Technology in Williamsport, serving nearly 2,100 students and 200 volunteers each year.
PFEW participants form teams of approximately 18 students and one volunteer adult business mentor who become the simulated management team of an under-performing manufacturing company in direct competition with other student companies. Each company must determine, through 12 business quarters, their selling price, marketing costs, production levels and budgets, banking needs, R&D costs and more. In addition, teams must develop a marketing strategy, create a print and media campaign, and design a website. Sound familiar?
The Chamber and Foundation have proudly supported PFEW for many years, and we encourage members and civic organizations to consider sponsorship for our students and, if possible, volunteers for the sessions. Every student attends PFEW on a fully tax-deductible $625 sponsorship (the actual value of which exceeds $1,500) which is provided by a local firm, foundation, civic organization, or individual. PFEW is an approved Educational Improvement Organization through the PA Educational Improvement Tax Credit (EITC) program. Sponsorship donors are prominently recognized in several publications circulated throughout the state, and each student wears the name of their sponsor on their photo ID badge throughout the week. Students write their sponsors after graduation to report on what they have learned.
If you would like to learn more about either award-winning program and how you can get involved, please visit the Foundation’s website, www.pfew.org, or contact Scott Lee, vice president of marketing & development for the Foundation for Free Enterprise Education at (814) 833-9576 ext. 8, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Picture Caption: Company Advisor Joanie Norelli (far right), customer manager small format for PepsiCo, takes a break on the quad with her team, Solaris, a power tool company, on a sunny Wednesday.