For Our Volunteers
CEI volunteer experts transfer their knowledge and skills to assist entrepreneurs, small and medium-sized businesses, business support organizations, and government agencies. They work in the countries of the developing world and in the emerging democracies.
Our volunteers are committed to promoting free enterprise and democracy by assisting, instructing and inspiring people, businesses and organizations around the world.
From Latin America to Central and Eastern Europe, Africa, Asia, the Near and Middle East, CEI offers the benefit of our volunteers’ extensive knowledge and expertise.
CEI uses volunteers for two main activities:
1. As a Tour Director of one of our study tours.
2. To investigate study tour applicants in their country and to prepare written company profiles and individual resumes. This information is later used in the selection process.
If you would like more information about becoming a volunteer, you may use our on-line Volunteer Application.
Tour Director – Overview of Role and Responsibilities
The objective of the CEI study tour program is to raise productivity in developing countries and thus to raise the standard of living. Study tours do this by arranging for groups of business leaders to visit sites and colleagues in their field, to learn how their industry functions in the United States. This introduces them to ideas and concepts that help them improve their businesses. The study tours focus on Management, Technology and Marketing within each industry covered.
Each study tour has a Tour Director (hired by CEI), whose primary responsibility is organizing and operating the study tour. The Tour Director has detailed knowledge of the structures, strengths, and weaknesses of the industry sector in the United States, extensive management and business consulting experience in the sector, management training experience, and ideally, an extensive network of contacts in the sector. The Tour Director should be able to assess the learning needs of tour participants and also to measure the impact of their learning on their businesses. Prior work in transition economies is desirable but is not essential. The Tour Director must be fluent in English; other language skills are beneficial but not required (CEI provides professional interpretation).
The main components of a Tour Director’s activities are:
- Help define the tour’s overall objectives.
- Visit the developing country to participate in the selection process (when appropriate).
- Make arrangements for the tour’s U.S. visits, such as to companies, trade associations, governmental agencies.
- Make logistical arrangements, such as with hotels and the CEI-selected transport company.
- Lead the tour during its entire U.S. stay, orienting tour members to the program, preparing them for individual appointments, answering tour members’ questions or facilitating answers, facilitating productive use of tour members’ free time, and providing other assistance and leadership as necessary. The Tour Director ensures that all the needs of the participants are met while on tour including interpretation requirements and/or special needs; providing that such requirements are for the group as a whole and not to the sole benefit of a single participant.
- Conduct exit interviews with the tour members to ascertain the scope of learnings, how they will be used, and opinions of the tour’s content.
- Prepare a written Tour Completion Report, describing the scope of tour appointments and how they fulfill tour objectives.
- Visit the developing country for follow-up on how tour members use the information gathered on the study tour, and provide a economic impact report on a company by company basis for inclusion in a final trip report.
Resources available to Tour Director
The entire study tour process is documented. Responsibilities for all involved parties are outlined. Experienced Tour Directors provide informal training and insights.
Resources should include direct access to the CEI Board for input, sample Technical Reports from the Marshall Plan era, prior MTM reports, experienced Tour Director meetings, on-the-job training with an upcoming tour, etc.
Some compensation is provided from the grant. Contact CEI for further details.
The Center for Economic Initiatives (CEI) began conducting study tours in 1996. It has conducted 17 study tours for Ukraine and one for Kazakhstan, as well as an internship program for Moldova. Tours have covered such industries agriculture, construction, food processing, information technology, small appliance manufacturing, and agricultural equipment manufacturing.
CEI study tours are modeled after the Technical Assistance Program of the Marshall Plan, which brought some 25,000 Western European managers to the United States following World War II. The Marshall Plan Technical Assistance Program is crediting with bridging a 30-year technology gap and raising productivity and thus the standard of living in Western Europe.
CEI tour directors find the study tour program extremely rewarding. After participating in study tours, tour members report that their learnings result in increased profitability; the ability to introduce new products and new marketing and distribution programs; lowered production costs; improved management. In Ukraine, the impact of participation in CEI organized and operated study tours resulted in more than $18 million (USD) in annual revenue increases/cost reductions, and helped propel the agricultural and food processing industries to the top performing industries in the country within only a three year period of time. Tour Directors can see and measure their accomplishments in the success of their participating company’s growth and market dominance in their home country.
The function of the Investigator is performed by the Center for Economic Initiatives (CEI). The purpose of this function is:
- To gather information that will be used by the CEI selection team in the selection of participants.
- To verify the current operating status of the organization. It is entirely possible that people will try to get on a study tour from companies that have little or no viability.
- To provide an independent evaluation of the company.
CEI will recruit volunteers to perform this function. They will be provided with transportation to the developing country, transportation within the country, a per diem, and housing (hotel unless an apartment is available at a lower cost). In this case, the volunteer will work closely with the Promotion Agency and will probably work out of their office and use their facilities.
The volunteer will be sent to the developing country and work closely with the Recruiting Agency. After an application is received it will be assigned a number by the Recruiting Agency.
The task of the Investigating Agency is to prepare written company profiles and applicant resumes based on the examples in this section. A hard copy is to be placed in file and at the end of the selection process, copies of the files are to be given to CEI on diskette.
A separate file folder is set up for each company. That file is to contain a printed copy of the company profile, applicant(s) resumes, company brochures, photos, and any other company information.
The Tour Director will inform the Investigating Agency in writing, with a copy to the Investigating Agency, of the industry sector selection criteria within the grant sector. This is to include suitable position job responsibilities of applicants within the sector.