The Northeast PA Manufacturers & Employers Council (MAEC) and the Foundation for Free Enterprise Education (FFEE) today announced a partnership that will expand career awareness opportunities for YES (Your Employability Skills) students through an online speaker series.

YES, which is administered by the Council, is a 120-hour, one-credit, year-round elective course that addresses the shortfall of basic skills that employers say are lacking in many job applicants. The course covers 38 modules in all, including communication, team building, interview/resume/cover letter writing, completing a job application, personal finance, conflict resolution, and time management.

In addition to the in-class instruction that students receive through the program, they are also directly exposed to industry through various means including facility tours, mock interview simulations, and guest speaking engagements.

Over the course of the past two years, the pandemic presented unique challenges to the program. The Council was forced to adapt much of its hands-on learning opportunities into an online friendly environment. This includes guest-speaking appearances by business professionals.

In order to maximize virtual experiences for YES students, MAEC has partnered with FFEE to offer their Speaker Series.

The Speaker Series is an online library of career exploration and workforce preparedness resources that help students discover career interests, learn the education and skills required for success in a wide variety of fields, develop a professional mentor network, and fulfill state mandated Career, Education and Work (CEW) standards. Being that the YES Program also meets the CEW standards, this relationship elevates students learning opportunities to a new level.

“The compatibility and complimentary programs offered by MAEC and FFEE will surely be enhanced through this strategic partnership,” said Carl A. Marrara, Vice President of Government Affairs and MAEC Board Member. “This newfound synergy will be a precious asset to Pennsylvania’s employers for decades to come as these outstanding organizations educate and train the workforce of tomorrow.”

The Speaker Series is targeted to Pennsylvania middle and high school students but is available to anyone interested in preparing for a new career.

Foundation for Free Enterprise Education President & CEO Karen Musante adds, “Workforce Development remains the number one concern among PA businesses, and we created the Speaker Series to provide useful resources to help our students develop a plan for life after high school. We’re excited to partner with the NEPA Manufacturers and Employers Council, and we’re proud to offer the Series as a great complement to YES and any other workforce development program. We value these types of partnerships because successful workforce development can only happen when education and business work together.”

“This speaker series enhances the YES program, as we continue to educate students in postsecondary preparation and career readiness,” said MAEC President Darlene J. Robbins. “This collaboration helps keep students engaged and continues to add value to their educational experience.”