A publication of the Virginia, Maryland & Delaware Association of Electric Cooperatives

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Planting Seeds

by Jim Robertson, Staff Writer

These kids know co-ops. In late June, hundreds of students, parents and teachers gathered at the Virginia Tech campus for the annual Virginia FFA State Convention. New this year was the Career and Opportunity Expo, during which students visited with potential future employers to learn more about the types of careers offered by each.

The Virginia, Maryland & Delaware Association of Electric Cooperatives represented the electric cooperatives of the mid-Atlantic. Many inquisitive young men and women learned how they could serve their locally owned electric co-op with a powerful career. Some were surprised by the variety of available opportunities. Others were instantly drawn to the idea of working on the line.

Being the first FFA convention in three years, “We wanted to do something special for our members,’ says Virginia FFA Foundation Executive Director Jennifer Armstrong. “Not only did it give them an opportunity to explore career and educational opportunities, it gave some key businesses and organizations in the state unique access to the quality young leaders that Virginia FFA produces.”

In addition to line technicians, electric co-ops employ engineers, financial analysts, graphic designers, GIS mapping technicians, IT professionals, member service representatives, public relations specialists and more. Serving 15 member cooperatives in Virginia, Maryland and Delaware, VMDAEC’s co-op family consists of more than 1,900 professionals.

“Seeing the interest from these young adults was a breath of fresh air,” says Isaac Hall of AutoBody Pro Shop in Harrisonburg, Va. “I’ve spoken with many different groups in a lot of places, but this group of FFA members carried themselves with a different level of dignity and respect.”

With an above-average retention rate, many co-op careers exceed 20 or 30 years — some even more than 50 years. Many retirements are expected over the next five to 10 years, so now is the perfect time to be exploring opportunities for a powerful career. The electric cooperatives of Virginia, Maryland and Delaware are proud to support youth programs like FFA.

For more, visit vmdaec.com/powerfulcareers.