Many high school students are college-bound, but others want to take a different path. To encourage the latter group, George Secor at Sunrise has teamed up with Ohio FFA for an amazing, creative program: Sunrise University, also known as the RISE FFA Career Program.
Sunrise is a leading agricultural and energy cooperative located in Ohio. President and CEO George Secor was approached by FFA leadership with a problem: the person chosen as annual FFA president must travel extensively to attend many events as part of their office. FFA was looking for sponsorship to help with this expense. Secor agreed to provide a brand-new vehicle each year to the president, and he asked something in return.
Secor wanted to reach high school students who were not planning to attend college, encourage their interest in agriculture, and provide them with jobs. He asked FFA to do the recruiting and select 10 top students who were active in their chapters and were good candidates for Sunrise.
Those chosen are hired at the co-op as trainees and will spend the next four years in Sunrise University. Two years will be devoted to rotating through the company’s different divisions: agronomy, energy, feed, and grain. The next two years will be focused on the trainee’s specific area of interest. “These positions pay well and include a 401K and health care benefits,” Secor said. And the FFA president’s year-old vehicle? It goes to the top student as a signing bonus!
Sunrise provides $50,000 in college scholarships annually, so they support the value of a college education. However, for those who want a job right out of high school, Sunrise University is an incredible opportunity. It also meets a need for the co-operative.
“I’ve got a lot of people I’ve got to hire,” Secor said. Many in the company are at retirement age. Having a new group of young people to fill these positions is a great benefit to Sunrise.
Jacob Walters from Van Buren HIgh School was the winner of a Ford Ranger pickup. He and 8 other trainees are currently working in the program, gaining experience in everything done in the company.
Share this great opportunity with your students! The application process for the 2022 RISE FFA Career Program will open in September of 2021. Sunrise also offers student internships.