'Union County CEO' program kicks off first year - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

'Union County CEO' program kicks off first year

"These are high school students who are dealing with real-world issues," Hawk said. "These are high school students who are dealing with real-world issues," Hawk said.
UNION COUNTY, IL (KFVS) - A Union County business man is gathering area high school students to prepare them for life as an entrepreneur.

The "CEO Program" started in Effingham, Ill. six years ago. It offers an extracurricular setting that organizers say give them a "hands on" take on life in the business world.

The Union County version began this year, with about 15 students who represent all Union County high schools.

"These are high school students who are dealing with real-world issues. In one case, from the Effingham program, a student who wasn't even considering going to college developed the schematics for a diesel engine that runs on propane. Now... he and his now-colleagues have been flown to China by business investors interested in the designs, and he's a full-time college student running a successful business." said program chairman Rollie Hawk on the phone.

Hawk is also the owner of Union County Technology Solutions, and spoke at the group's January meeting. He said right now their focus is on having them interact with as many local entrepreneurs as possible, as well as inviting guest speakers from Midland and other institutions.

The program rights are supplied by Effingham based "Midland Institute for Entrepreneurship." and cost the Union County kids $20,000 for the first year's program, in addition to $3,000 more each year after that.

"That's one of the things the kids do in our meetings, is call real, local investors here in the county who help fund this program, along with the projects the students are working on." Hawk said.

Hawk went on to say the Union County program is currently seeking a full-time teacher to turn the monthly meetings into a daily class.

He expects to reach that goal by the start of the 2015-2016 program.

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