Lakeland University Blog

Bradley Foundation grant will fund LU economic ed programs

Bradley Foundation grant will fund LU economic ed programs


Bradley Foundation grant will fund LU economic ed programs

Lakeland University has been awarded a $273,000 grant from the Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation to fund a variety of economic education programs through the university’s Office for the Advancement of Free Enterprise Education (OAFEE).

“The lack of economic literacy continues to be a challenge in the United States, and a barrier for many families and students to realizing economic stability and freedom,” said Lakeland Senior Vice President for Advancement and Cooperative Education Scott Niederjohn, who created OAFEE. “Market economies create wealth, and we all benefit from a prosperous economy, but not enough people know how our economy works and are able to fully participate in it.

“We are grateful to The Bradley Foundation for continuing to be a strong supporter of these programs, which attack the problem at a number of levels by providing basic financial and economic education that will help participants better understand how to create their own financial health.”

The grant will fund a number of successful programs, including:

  • Economics for Heroes – A two-day, face-to-face, web-supported seminar on personal finance and economics for Wisconsin’s heroes – military veterans, police officers and fire fighters. The seminars begin with a crash course on personal finance stressing earning income, saving, investing and credit management. The focus is on the basics – developing a budget, reducing debt, learning how to save and planning for retirement. The seminars also introduce the economic way of thinking which stresses choices, costs, incentives, rules of the economic system and gains from voluntary trade.
  • Economics for Opinion Leaders – A series of two, two-day seminars for teachers and media professionals that introduce opinion leaders to the economic way of thinking and equip them with the concepts and vocabulary to explain how free enterprise provides the tools for promoting prosperity and reducing poverty. The programs stress choices, costs, incentives, rules of the economic system, trade and gains from trade. It will include supply and demand analysis, the basic institutions of a market economy including private property rights, profit motive, consumer sovereignty, competition and freedom of contract.
  • Lakeland University Summer Entrepreneurship Camps – The Lakeland University Academy for Aspiring Entrepreneurs (AEE) and Pursuing Your Passion (PYP) are four-day summer boot camps for 11th and 12th grade students. The Pursuing Your Passion program is a new offering designed for students who plan to pursue careers within the fine arts and humanities. Students will learn the basics of financial literacy, develop entrepreneurial and fundamental business skills, identify their guiding values, develop strategies for goal setting and receive training in approaches to personal wellness.

    Both programs will have three features.
    • Students have a course in entrepreneurship including team building, types of business organization, innovation, business plans, business plans and marketing. Students will research businesses and compete for preparing the best business idea. Students will also be introduced to the basics of personal finance including saving, investing and credit use.
    • Students focus on how the economy works and the role of individuals within it. Basic concepts such as scarcity, opportunity cost and the laws of supply and demand are taught often through simulations and activities.
    • Students will take afternoon field trips to area businesses, non-profits and arts groups so that students can see free markets at work and how they can prepare themselves to work in any of these sectors.
    • Students who successfully complete all aspects of the programs receive a $750+ college scholarship to Lakeland University or a $500 scholarship to a post-secondary institution of their own choosing.
  • Teaching Economics in American History – Two, one-day conferences for Wisconsin (and neighboring states) high school teachers of American history (one virtual and one in person). This initiative helps us make progress toward providing teachers with the content knowledge and instructional tools they will need to improve the economic understanding of their students. The conferences introduce teachers to the economic way of thinking which stresses choices, costs, incentives, rules of the economy system, gains from trade and many other concepts.

Lakeland has offered programs through OAFEE for three years, but the university was forced to cancel some 2020 in-person programming and pivot to virtual programming later in the year due to COVID-19. While face-to-face instruction is still the goal for most programs moving forward, the pivot to virtual did allow Lakeland to dramatically expand the number of attendees for some programs.

Spring 2021 programs will be offered virtually and transitioning to face-to-face programming in the summer and fall, depending on COVID guidelines.