The Columbia Montour Chamber and the Chamber Foundation support not only local business, but also educating our youth about business and future employment opportunities right here in Columbia and Montour counties. That’s why for years, both organizations have supported Pennsylvania Free Enterprise Week (PFEW). This award-winning program teaches students to understand and celebrate the American private enterprise system and provides a unique, hands-on learning experience that helps students develop the vital skills businesses need to succeed. This summer, 10 students from Bloomsburg, Central Columbia, and Millville School Districts, as well as Columbia-Montour Area Vocational Technical School, joined over 2,000 students from across the state to participate in the 40th annual PFEW summer program recently concluded in Williamsport.
At PFEW, students form management teams of approximately eighteen students and run their own manufacturing company, competing against other student companies. Throughout the week, world class speakers address the students on a wide variety of topics germane to the business world and their personal and professional development. It is not only a powerful educational experience, it can be positively life-changing. Here are a few quotes from local students who attended this year’s program:
“Even though I am not currently looking into a career in business, the information that I learned here will help me to have success in whatever my future holds… The changes and experiences I have gone through this week will stay with me forever and mold who I am in the future” Owen Flaugh, Central Columbia High School
“I’ve had amazing opportunities to participate in programs that allowed me to travel the world and make a difference. I didn’t think PFEW could beat that, yet it did.” Lillian Aronson, Millville Area JSHS
The program is taught entirely by volunteer practitioners from the PA business community, and each year, over 200 volunteers are needed to put on this world-class program. Students attend via a $625 scholarship donated by a local business, foundation, civic organization or individual. This year, the Chamber Foundation provided scholarships through a donation from First Keystone Community Bank, which was one of six organizations from Columbia and Montour Counties that provided scholarship support. The Foundation will also be able to fund scholarship next year through grants from First Keystone. To get involved as a donor or volunteer, or to discover more about PFEW or learn more about how to apply to participate in this program, visit PFEW’s website, or call Scott Lee at 814-833-9576.