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Spire welcomes six Ranken Tech students to its cooperative education program

Two-year program prepares six students for careers in the natural gas industry

ST. LOUIS (March 1, 2021) — In the first step toward preparing students for careers in the natural gas industry, Spire representatives welcomed six Ranken Technical College students into their Cooperative Education Program during a sign on event at the school. 

The co-op program is a two-year educational program providing students the skills they need to learn technical aspects of the natural gas field.

“We’re very fortunate to have a relationship with Ranken, one of the best technical colleges in Missouri,” said Suzanne Sitherwood, Spire president and CEO. “Making it into this co-op program was not a small feat for these students. It is quite an accomplishment. “Co-ops provide great opportunities if you work well, study well and participate well at work.”

To qualify for the program, students must maintain good grades, go through an interview process, and demonstrate a solid work ethic. This is the second group of students accepted into the program.

The 2021 Ranken co-op students are: 

  • TeOnna Blackmon - St. Louis, MO
  • Ronald Fenwick – Festus, MO
  • Jakob Gruenenfelder – Highland, IL
  • Clara Kelly – Ballwin, MO 
  • Noah Meyer – St. Charles, MO
  • Andrew Moran – St. Charles, MO

Kelly worked at Costco before coming to Ranken and applying for the program. She said this opportunity clears the way for a career, not just a job. 

“I think this is an amazing opportunity even if I don’t receive a fulltime offer from Spire,” Kelly said. “It makes me a lot more marketable and knowledgeable so that I can expand my career options. It’s also important to see more women represented in this industry. I feel empowered.”

Kelly, and Blackmon are the first two women to participate in the program. Blackmon said she decided to pursue the program because she knows field technicians are in high demand. “This will prepare me for a great career,” she said.

During the virtual event, Sitherwood reflected on her own co-op experience at a natural gas company in Atlanta. “I know firsthand the value of a co-op experience,” she said. “Without that opportunity, I don’t know if I would have taken the journey to becoming CEO of Spire.”


Missouri Governor Mike Parson also provided remarks. The co-op program directly aligns with his top priority workforce and education initiative, which focuses on providing individuals the knowledge, skills and training necessary to fill high-demanding jobs in Missouri.

“Since day one as governor, one of my priorities has been to create more opportunities for workforce development in our state,” he said. “A knowledgeable and skilled workforce is critical to moving Missouri forward, and the Spire Cooperative Education Program at Ranken directly supports this effort. I appreciate Spire and Ranken for their commitment to workforce development and giving our future workforce the tools they need to be successful.”


About Spire
At Spire Inc. (NYSE: SR), we believe energy exists to help make people’s lives better. It’s a simple idea, but one that’s at the heart of our company. Every day we serve 1.7 million homes and businesses making us the fifth largest publicly traded natural gas company in the country. We help families and business owners fuel their daily lives through our gas utilities serving Alabama, Mississippi and Missouri. Our natural gas-related businesses include Spire Marketing, Spire STL Pipeline and Spire Storage. We are committed to transforming our business through growing organically, investing in infrastructure, and advancing through innovation. Learn more at SpireEnergy.com. 

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