The Chester Education Foundation (CEF) was founded in 1989 by a consortium of local and state leaders including Widener University, the PA Department of Education, the Commission on Higher Education, United Way of Southeastern PA, the Pew Charitable Trusts, Sun Company, Scott Paper Company, Boeing and others. CEF was created to support students who needed additional resources to be successful. Their first program, STEP (Summer Training and Employment), provided summer employment for 300 youth in nonprofit or public entities. Thirty years later, the program is still thriving and is the largest source of youth employment in Delaware County.

With a $50,000 grant from The Foundation for Delaware County, CEF was able to re-establish college resource services in Chester. The grant supports the newly formed Jetter Center which will extend college and career services to the Chester Upland community at CEF’s Offices on Avenue of the Arts in Overtown, at local high schools, and in partnership with community-based organizations at convenient locations throughout Chester. Current programming includes SAT prep classes, college visits, and college and career workshops as part of the after-school programs at Chester HS and STEM Academy and CEF’s summer programs.

The Jetter Center has helped young adults such as Antoni, age 21 who went to college for one year, but left school after his mother died because he could not manage the tuition on his own. He had significant debt to repay to the college and PHEAA. Antoni enrolled in Blueprint for Success (BFS) through the Jetter Center where he took a Financial Literacy class taught by WSFS Bank. Program Director, Elaine Greene-Upton helped Antoni secure a full-time job with benefits with a company that marks utility lines for construction. Because of his experience he was recently offered a new position at more than $50/hr. Ms. Greene also helped him to apply for a special loan repayment program with PHEAA allowing him to pay off all of his college loans in 17 months. Antoni plans to return to school to get his engineering degree.

CEF would love to be able to serve more students throughout Delaware County with college and career services. To learn more and support The Chester Education Foundation please visit their website.