There is an award-winning summer economics education program that for forty years has benefited our local students. Pennsylvania Free Enterprise Week (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 specifically to teach students about the American private enterprise system and provide tools to help students become 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, PA, serving nearly 2,200 students and 250 volunteers each year.
At PFEW, participants are grouped into management teams of junior executives who have been hired to turn around underperforming manufacturing companies. These teams, mentored by adult volunteers called Company Advisors, operate their firms for a computer simulated three-years, competing against other student companies. They formulate production and financial strategies, develop income statements and balance sheets, prepare marketing and advertising campaigns, all the while reacting to a variety of external factors. Sound familiar?
PFEW is designed to give every participant an idea of real-world relevant issues facing today’s businesses. Each day’s activities include four to five presentations from world-class speakers from across the nation who deliver talks that both inspire and motivate our young entrepreneurs for their futures. Does it work? Consider the following quote from 2018 PFEW graduate Maya Moktan from West Chester East High School: “I actively participate in DECA at East, and I am pleasantly surprised at the more in-depth analysis of business at PFEW… However, my favorite part of PFEW by far was the motivational speakers. Each and every one was able to leave a mark in my mind. Each speaker had their own story, and I was left awestruck and truly inspired. At some points, I was almost brought to tears!”
The Chamber proudly supports PFEW and encourages our local companies and civic organizations to provide sponsorship for our students and, if possible, volunteers for the sessions. Every student attends PFEW on a fully tax-deductible $625 scholarship (the actual value of the scholarship exceeds $1,500) which is provided by a local firm, foundation, civic organization, or individual. PFEW is also an approved Educational Improvement Organization through the PA Educational Improvement Tax Credit (EITC) program. Scholarship 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.
The Foundation for Free Enterprise Education proudly announces that they have recently expanded their programming to include the Stock Market GameTM, an interactive in-school game for students in grades 4-12 that teaches them about the Stock Market and Securities Industry. For more information on how to support or get involved with SMG, please contact Jeremy Kropf, Technology and Projects Manager at 814-833-9576 x4, or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you would like to learn more about the award-winning PFEW program and how you can help, please call the Chamber directly or contact Scott Lee, vice president of marketing & development for the Foundation for Free Enterprise Education at (814) 833-9576 ext. 8, or e-mail him at email@example.com. PFEW is open to all current sophomores and juniors in Pennsylvania and information on attendance, as well as program applications, can be found on the PFEW website. Questions can be directed to Amber Goss, Schools Manager for PFEW, by calling her office at (814) 833-9576 ext. 6, or emailing her at firstname.lastname@example.org.