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Posted on: October 2, 2018

Sangamon Valley Brings Entrepreneurship Program to High School Students

Sangamon Valley CEO is proud to join a network of 51 total CEO Communities across the United States who have partnered with Midland Institute for Entrepreneurship to bring the entrepreneurial program, CEO, to their community. This program will be open to our community’s high school students in the 2019-2020 school year.

The CEO (Creating Entrepreneurial Opportunities) Program is a proven learning model that creates a world class learning environment for our high school students through interactive, real-life learning in local businesses throughout the community.

The end result is a group of out-of-the-box-thinkers who have experienced first-hand the opportunities in Sangamon valley, have cultivated skills that will allow them to contribute better to the workforce, and are prepared to participate in future local business growth.

In short, workforce development, economic development, and talent retention are the outcome of this program. But the most important part is that the kids get to see first-hand what the community has to offer.

Our local business leaders and the administrators of area schools (Argenta-Oreana CUSD #1, Bement CUSD #5, Cerro Gordo CUSD #100, Deland-Weldon CUSD #57, and Monticello CUSD #25) worked together over the past year to effectively launch the CEO Program. Early adopters of the program initiated key conversations with community members and schools to form the structure that the later formed CEO Advisory Board will need to oversee operations of the program. This board will be led by board chair and CEO of Kirby Medical Center, Steve Tenhouse. 

Other CEO Advisory Board members will include: Callie McFarland, Cindy Luedke, Michelle Gross, Sean German, Kevin Feeney, Adam Clapp, Heather Lawhead, Brett Robinson, Shelly Beerey, and Todd Henricks.

The initial fee $25,000 fee to implement the program was made possible by inaugural investor, Kirby Medical Center, and 35-50 additional community investors will make the continuation of this program a reality. These investments will fund the operational budget, which is lean and focused on local program impact. It will primarily be dedicated to funding the new job that has been created for the future facilitator of the program. The facilitator will work daily with the CEO students and local businesses to create the CEO learning environment.

Sangamon Valley CEO is grateful for our community’s support and enthusiasm as we take our first step toward growing an entrepreneurial generation. Our success in initiating the program has been made possible through the efforts of this community, and your continued participation will ensure its continued success.  

If you are interested in applying for the program, in learning more about the facilitator position, or in becoming a stakeholders/investor please visit

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