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State officials hear about CEO program

EFFINGHAM — After he was honored at a meeting earlier in the day, Craig Lindvahl spoke to state officials Thursday afternoon about the CEO program.

He told Lieutenant Gov. Evelyn Sanguinetti and the Governor's Rural Affairs Council during a meeting at Thelma Keller Convention Center that the program has been growing faster than ever.

"We are expanding much more rapidly now," Lindvahl said.

CEO, a program Lindvahl started in Effingham County, has been picked up by schools as far away as Colorado. Lindvahl said the program has been getting attention across the country.

Sanguinetti said she likes the program that teaches students how to run their own businesses and said she'd like to put information about it on the Lieutenant Governor's website.

Officials asked Lindvahl questions about the program — one asked why CEO students in rural communities didn't get more agricultural-related experiences.

Lindvahl responded by saying that students do tour places like hog farms, but that there is talk of starting an ag-version of CEO.

Officials said the state has been trying to keep its brightest young people in Illinois. Lindvahl said that because CEO exposes students to area business leaders — interesting people they otherwise wouldn't know — they are more likely to stay put in their community after completing their education.

"They get to see the community through a completely new set of eyes," Lindvahl said.

Though many complain of a lack of jobs in their hometowns, and end up moving away, Lindvahl said the jobs are around.

"Almost every employer I talk to says, 'Oh, I have jobs, but I can't get the people to fill them,'" Lindvahl said.

Source: Stan Polanski 

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