‘E’ is for Entrepreneurship
Northern’s Center for Economic Education (CEE) has added another “E” to its acronym: entrepreneurship.
“It came about as the center attracted more and more interest in the entrepreneurship components of its K-12 programs,” said director Tawni Ferrarini (Economics). “Our mission and vision have not changed. We are just identifying ourselves as a U.P. and statewide resource for teachers, students, parents and community members interested in advancing marketplace economics and entrepreneurship.”
The center offers a variety of programs and services. These range from K-12 educator training programs and professional development workshops to standards-based educational materials and outcomes assessment.
“Everything we do is designed to help prepare members of the U.P. community to participate effectively in the global marketplace, and to advance their understanding of the economic way of thinking and its applications,” Ferrarini added. “Economics touches everything we do. You can incorporate it into a variety of academic disciplines.”
Ferrarini said about 7,600 students and 125 teachers were impacted by the center’s programs and services in 2004-05.
The center is partially funded by the College of Arts and Sciences. Ferrarini receives additional support from the fee-based services provided to the K-12 education community, and through successful grant applications.
The center recently helped the Marquette Alger Regional Educational Service Agency (MARESA) secure a $200,000 grant from the Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Growth. The funding is being used to advance economic education through teacher training. This includes publishing and distributing economic and entrepreneurship teaching materials, and promoting student activities rooted in economic education.
“Teachers have so many things on their plates,” Ferrarini added. “We help them discover ways to incorporate economic principles in their classrooms and promote more active participation from students. It doesn’t require drastic changes to the curriculum, just different ways of organizing and presenting the information. And we can help with that.”
She said the ideal end result of the center’s efforts is to create a growing population of budding entrepreneurs, knowledgeable consumers, savvy investors and rational lifelong decision makers.