Future Business Leaders Learn About Free Enterprise.
The FBLA Xchange is a new program that came to the Shenandoah Valley in 2019 through a partnership including YES, the JMU Center of Economic Education, JMU’s College of Business, Eddie Edwards Signs, school CTE Coordinators and Teachers in Staunton, Waynesboro, Augusta County, Harrisonburg, and Rockingham County, and FBLA.
Area teachers and administrators were looking for ways to expand their FBLA club membership at both the high schools and middle schools. Working with the YES funded teacher outreach coordinator, they created a program to show students the advantages of joining their local FBLA clubs. The program also works to develop student’s leadership abilities, communication skills, teamwork and valuable soft skills they will need for successful careers in business. The Xchange also provides a great opportunity for students to prepare for regional and state competitions. While each school chapter could do these things on their own, the teachers wanted to create more buzz and excitement for their student participants by hosting a Valleywide event at James Madison University.
Students Consider Education Options and Career Paths.
Many CTE and FBLA participants traditionally focused on going directly into the trades. Their teachers wanted to acknowledge that trades are a great option for many students, but also wanted to demonstrate that pursuing careers in free enterprise as entrepreneurs and business leaders is another achievable aspiration. YES became involved because we believe this is a natural extension of our mission to provide economics, personal finance, and financial literacy education as well as exposure to free enterprise, entrepreneurship, and business. Additionally, it helps us to increase awareness of our organization and extend our reach. Further, the FBLA XChange is a great tie-in for our program Invest in What’s Next: Life After High School which we support in partnership with the Richmond Federal Reserve.
FBLA(Future Business Leaders of America)-Middle Level introduces middle and junior high school students to the world of business and free enterprise. Through their involvement, they can explore careers and delve into business principles with real-world activities, including job shadowing, community service activities and leadership development programs.
Students will sharpen their communication, leadership, and teamwork skills, preparing them for high school and the workplace before many of their peers. They can also attend online and in-person events and conferences to compete against other students or hone their leadership skills through interactive workshops and seminars.