Local firms help shape leaders of tomorrow

score I recently had the opportunity to attend the annual meeting of Junior Achievment at Giovanni's and was extremely impressed with the number and quality of company executives and members there.

Most of the major companies of Rockford were in attendance, andmany were honored for their contribution of personnel time and funding. It was encouraging to see the support that Rockford-based companies are providing to the education of youth. After all, the youth of today are the company manager of tomorrow.

The list of supporters of Junior Achievement is long and impressive, including Camcar, Motorola, Sundstrand, Woodward, UPS, Elco, Ingersol, Bank One and Alpine Bank. thirty-five companies have committed personnel to supporting the Junior Achievement program at a particular school, teaching our youth about business, work ethic, responsibility, economics, dependability, career opportunities and the value of the free enterprise system.

These men and women bring their company, their jobs and their real life experiences to the students.

As a secondary benefit, the program examines local responsibilities and the economic opportunities in t eRockford marketing area. And keep in mind: These workers have been given release time to teach during usual working hours. It demonstrated the value our companies place on our youth.

Seventy-four schools in the Rockford marketing area - 10,000 students from kindergarten through 12th grade are included in the program, with 450 trained volunteers from our business community.

It was great, exhilarating and encouraging seeing and hearing the recognition these supporters of our local educational system received. We need more of that, for what better way can our youth learn?

I was fortunate to sit at a table with three managers from United Parcel Service, and during our table talk, I was informed about a unique progran that UPS is implementing.

District air manager Tim Hanson told me about a program for the entire UPS work force that will provide college tuition credits up to $3,000 a year for four years.

It also offers a loan program providing $8,000 for tuition, housing, food, clothing and other related costs. The loan will be paid by UPS at the rate of $2,000 a year, with the stipulation that the employee continues working at UPS. The individual only needs to the low interest payments.

The entire package comes to $23,000.

A partnering program between UPS and Rock Valley College is complete, and they are working out a similar program with Northern Illinois University at Rockford and DeKalb.

The employee only needs to sign up with UPS and the school, take the course and earn a passing grade, and UPS will pick up the tab.

College is becoming extremely expensive, and it's encouraging to see some of our companies developing programs to help provide the post-high school education needed for future employees.

We need more companies willing to accept their responsibility in furnishing the needed help.

Bill Bryan is a counselor with the Service Corps of Retired Executives. SCORE offers counseling, workshops and seminars on small business operations. You can reach Bryan through SCORE, 515 N Court St. 815-962-0122, for information and appointments.

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