Morgan-Scott CEO program teaches entrepreneurship skills
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By DAVID CAMPHOUSE
Fourteen high school students, including 11 Scott County students, are enrolled in the class of 2022 Morgan-Scott CEO program.
The CEO program, facilitated by the Illinois Electric Co-op, is an educational program designed to prepare youth to be responsible, enterprising individuals who will positioned to become entrepreneurs or entrepreneurial thinkers and contribute to economic development and sustainable communities.
Through the program, students are immersed in real life learning experiences with the opportunity to take risks, manage the results, and learn from the outcomes.
A fundamental part of the CEO program, Morgan-Scott CEO Program Facilitator Jennifer Sellars said, is the development of a class business during the first semester of the program and individual student businesses during the second semester of the program.
Sellars said this year’s class business is a cake pop business called County Cake Pops and More. The class will be selling cake pops at this Friday’s Winchester Ladies Night.
“I think Friday night will be the classes biggest event,” Sellars said.
Dollars generated by the class’s cake pop business during the first semester of the program serve as seed money for individual student businesses developed during the second semester of the year. Some students, according to Sellars, come in to the class with business experience.
“The students create their own businesses in the second half of the year,” Sellars said. “Some have their own businesses already. Emma Brown has a jewelry business for example. A lot of kids come in already having business experience or at least a skill. They really are a bright bunch.”
In its eighth year, the first years’ participants in the Morgan-Scott CEO, Sellars said, are starting to finish college and graduate school and are looking toward starting their professional lives.
“We’re just now starting to see some of the kids come out of college,” Sellars said. “I’m anxious to see what those students do coming out of college and law school.”
According to Sellars, an important part of the CEO program is showing students that it is possible to make a life and a viable living in the rural communities of Western Illinois.
“That’s a great part of the program,” Sellars said. “By making the connections they make and by doing the things they do in the program, it opens their eyes to the possibilities. Winchester and Carollton have seen a lot of shops pop up. We need people to come back and start businesses.”
Sellars said the CEO program has a noticeable and transformative effect on students who participate in the curriculum.
“There’s a change in these students when they go through this,” Sellars said. “They think in a different way and learn to be more inquisitive and to be critical thinkers. CEO puts them in a position to be exposed to things they wouldn’t otherwise be exposed to and helps them make connections they wouldn’t otherwise make.”
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Fourteen 2022 IEC memorial scholarships available
Illinois electric cooperatives will award 14 scholarships in 2022 to financially assist deserving students in the electric cooperative family. The 14 scholarships, $2,000 each, will be awarded through the Thomas H. Moore Illinois Electric Cooperatives (IEC) Memorial Scholarship Program.
Eight scholarships will be awarded to high school seniors who are the sons or daughters of an Illinois electric co-op member. A ninth scholarship, the Earl W. Struck Memorial Scholarship, will be awarded to a student who is the son or daughter of an Illinois electric cooperative employee or director. Four additional scholarships are reserved for students enrolling full time at a two-year Illinois community college who are the sons or daughters of Illinois electric cooperative members, employees or directors.
The 14th scholarship, the LaVern and Nola McEntire Memorial Lineworker’s Scholarship, will help pay for costs to attend lineworker school conducted by the Association of Illinois Electric Cooperatives in conjunction with Lincoln Land Community College, Springfield, Ill. Sons and daughters of co-op members, relatives of co-op employees or directors, and individuals who have served or are serving in the armed forces or National Guard are all eligible for this scholarship.
“We hope to assist electric cooperative youth while honoring past rural electric leaders with these scholarships,” says Randy Long, General Manager. “Illinois Electric Cooperative and the other electric cooperatives are always seeking ways to make a difference in our communities. One of the best ways we can do that is by helping our youth and investing in them through programs like this one.”
Deadline to apply is Dec. 31, 2021. The lineworker scholarship deadline is April 30, 2022. For more information regarding the scholarships, contact Jennifer Sellars at 217-730-8307. Information has also been shared with area high school guidance counselors and is available online at aiec.coop/iec-scholarship.