Sunrise University and Ohio FFA

By Dale Minyo and Matt Reese

As part of a unique partnership with Ohio FFA, Sunrise Cooperative has created the RISE FFA Career Program and Sunrise University. The program was developed in 2019 and serves two purposes: provide an avenue to reach the future leaders of agriculture, while supporting the Ohio FFA Association State President during their term in office. 

“The state FFA came to us and they had a need for a vehicle for the State FFA president to drive. I say, ‘I’ll tell you what, we’ll give you a brand new pickup truck for the state FFA president to drive and, at the end of that year, when it is one year old, we’ll take that truck and give it as a signing bonus to whoever you say is the top FFA student that wants to come right into the work force from high school,’” said George Secor, President/CEO of Sunrise. “Our partnership with Ohio FFA has developed a great connection to the future leaders in ag.”

That program evolved into an opportunity for FFA members looking to enter the workforce upon graduation from high school through Sunrise University. In 2021, Sunrise offered a full-time position to nine FFA members, with the top winner getting the year-old vehicle driven by the State FFA President. 

“We are not going to wait for new employees to find us, we need to develop our own,” Secor said. “Through Sunrise University we are going to grow our own replacements and strive for continued success of our customer-owners.” 

These new FFA members turned Sunrise employees learn all facets of the cooperative to expand their knowledge in agriculture. Their employment will allow Sunrise to grow their team of employees while the recent graduates can build their career paths through first-hand experience.

The 2022 deadline for the program is March 4. Interested FFA members should ask their advisors for more details.

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