"You will gain valuable work and life experience, expand your resume, improve your English, have opportunity to travel in the U.S., make great memories and form lasting relationships. No matter where you end up in the U.S., your Work and Travel Program is sure to be a summer you will never forget."
This is what CETUSA promised the students but delivered something entirely different. In August 2011, the main distribution center for Hershey candies was subjected to a strike by about 400 young foreign workers brought to the United States under the J1 "cultural exchange" visa program. The center in Palmyra, Pennsylvania was run for Hershey by Exel based in Ohio. Exel in turn subcontracted the staffing of the center to another firm SHS OnSite Solutions based in Lemoyne, Pennsylvania. The students were recruited by yet another organization called the Council on Educational Travel.
The students paid CETUSA up to $6,000 to participate in the program. The students came from countries such as Costa Rica, China, Mongolia, Kazakhstan, Moldova, Poland, and Romania. One said, "I spent some of the worst moments of my life during that exchange."
As the strike made national news, Hershey pressured its contractors to provide the students with a week of paid vacation to allow them to see America. Hershey, Exel, SHS OnSite Solutions and CETUSA all removed any mention of the strike from their web sites.