An Entrepreneurial Endeavor with Penn State York


Jody Keller is the Executive-in-Residence for the Graham Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership Studies (The Graham Center) at Penn State York. Read on to discover how Working Class will be a key component in promoting entrepreneurship at this local university.

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WC: How did Penn State York get involved with Working Class and the makerspace start-up?

JK: We were fortunate to receive a grant from Invent Penn State, an initiative designed to spur economic growth, job creation, and student career success.  This grant was designed for use in our Graham Center for Leadership and Entrepreneurial Studies (The Graham Center), a Penn State York program that was established to help students develop leadership and professional skills. It was the perfect partner for this endeavor.


 WC: How will this makerspace be beneficial to the University?

JK: Penn State York’s partnership with Working Class provides a unique opportunity for Graham students and faculty to engage and collaborate on various aspects of the development of Working Class.  In addition, The Graham Center’s “Start-Up Challenge” is aligned with the enterprising endeavors of the makerspace, bringing new ideas and skills to market.


 WC: How does the makerspace concept align with Penn State’s values?

JK: The vision and purpose of The Graham Center is to enhance students’ entrepreneurial spirits by providing them with practical skills that complement the quality education they receive at Penn State.  The concept and purpose of Working Class is aligned perfectly with Penn State’s values including our deep commitment to supporting and enhancing the economic well-being of our community.    


 WC: Why do you think York needs a makerspace?

JK:  There’s so much energy for developing, learning, and inventing in York right now.  I can’t recall another time when York was such a vibrant place.  A makerspace is both a contributor and a result of the renewed energy and commitment to a thriving community.  We need all of the collaborators to make change and it seems to be working!


 WC: What’s your favorite thing to “make?”

JK:  Wow, I didn’t expect that question!  I have a bit of a creative side, having spent many years enjoying sewing things like clothing, Halloween costumes, and curtains.  I also loved hooking rugs, and when I retired from my long-term career, I fully intended to make rugs again and start making jewelry.  Well, that hasn’t happened yet as I didn’t really retire.  So, I’ll get to make my favorite when I’m ready to slow down a bit more.   


WC: Why do you love York City?

JK:  I moved to York more than forty years after graduating from Penn State and doubt anything could motivate me to leave.  I love York City for the people first—we’re so fortunate to have a real community of people who care about our city and each other.  I love York City for the diversity of ideas, the many things to do and opportunities to get involved.  We have the best of all worlds here—I can’t imagine a better place to live.

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Thanks for the interview, Jody!

The Graham Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership Studies was created to encourage the partnership of Penn State York with businesses and industries. Together Penn State York and the Graham Center have continually found a solution to a major workforce issue in the region – the need for college graduates who are mature and independent, can think critically, and can lead.

To learn more about the Graham Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership Studies visit: