Exton Region Chamber of Commerce

Pennsylvania Free Enterprise Week – Preparing tomorrow’s workforce!

February 22, 2021
Written by: Laurie Ryan

As we recover from a very difficult and challenging year, our members, maybe even you, will be looking for employees with the knowledge and skills to get their businesses back on track. For years we’ve supported a program that arms high school students with the tools to be our next great employees – Pennsylvania Free Enterprise Week (PFEW). This award-winning summer business education program immerses high school students in the exciting world of modern business and free enterprise with one goal in mind – to properly prepare them for the demands of the 21st century workforce.


Offered by the Foundation for Free Enterprise Education (FFEE), PFEW is a proven, reliable component of workforce development that brings together students and businesspeople for a powerful hands-on learning experience. PFEW annually holds multiple week-long sessions in July and August on the campuses of Lycoming College and the Pennsylvania College of Technology. Since 1979, more than 46,000 young Pennsylvanians and countless PA companies have benefitted from this unique program.


At PFEW, students form teams and run a modern manufacturing company. Using a powerful college-level business simulation, they run their company for the equivalent of three years, making the same decisions real executives make. Each team is paired with a volunteer business mentor who imparts invaluable real-world perspective. Teams are responsible for two judged presentations - a mock shareholders annual meeting and an advertising presentation, where they must demonstrate in-depth knowledge of all facets of business operations. The week is highlighted by Speakers delivering inspiring messages directed at the students’ personal and professional development. An ethics case study, other business-related activities and the college experience round out this exciting week.


There’s no more urgent work than preparing our young people for careers in our community, but why PFEW? In the words of 2019 PFEW graduate Brina Cartagenova: “This week at PFEW will resonate with me for years to come, for it is an eye-opening experience for Pennsylvania youth. Arriving as wide-eyed, eager children and leaving as empowered, confident leaders, PFEW students go through an academic cultivation like no other.” Brina describes PFEW perfectly – cultivating our next great generation of empowered, confident leaders. No other model educates students like PFEW, and that’s why we proudly support it.


The pandemic forced the cancelation of PFEW last summer, but there will be PFEW this summer. FFEE is ready for an in-person or remote program because our students need this education more than ever. I encourage you to provide sponsorships for our local students and, if possible, volunteers for the sessions. Every student attends PFEW on a fully tax-deductible $625 sponsorship donated by a business, foundation, organization or individual. FFEE is an approved Educational Improvement Organization through the PA Educational Improvement Tax Credit (EITC) program, and all programs are eligible to receive EITC funding.


FFEE offers two additional programs that prepare students for success and provide incredible value to our young people and our business community. The Stock Market GameTM (SMG) teaches students in grades 4-12 about investing and financial literacy, and the Speaker Series helps students explore careers and fulfill state mandated Career, Education and Work (CEW) standards. All Foundation programs have one goal in mind – preparing our young people for successful careers in Pennsylvania. If you would like to learn more about PFEW or their other educational offerings, 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 scott@pfew.org.


Picture Caption: Company Advisor Joanne Cortese, CHMM (far left), EHS & PSM leader at GE Aviation, gets some “air” with her team at PFEW 2019!

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