LINCOLN – A statewide coalition of chambers and economic developers Wednesday recognized legislative leaders for advancing $391 million in American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) recommendations out of committee that are key to attracting and retaining talent, building communities and supply chain, and creating new opportunities for all Nebraskans.
“Strong commitments to building workforce, communities, and infrastructure are among the critical-path items needed to remain competitive in attracting and retaining talent and families,” said NE Chamber President Bryan Slone.
Specifically, LB1014 contains provisions prioritized by the statewide “Good Life Game Changer” coalition in legislative priorities this year, including:
The ARPA package also allocates $210 million to help public and private sector organizations respond to the specific needs and opportunities facing Nebraskans disproportionately affected by the pandemic economy. A total of $150 million in grants will be targeted to organizations in North Omaha, South Omaha and qualified U.S. Census tracts across the state. A total of $60 million in the Site and Building Development Fund will support the North Omaha Industrial Park Project. These initiatives will help build quality of life and opportunity for the next generation of Nebraskans through additional investments in workforce, infrastructure, housing and relief, well aligned with Good Life Game Changer priorities.
“The unprecedented impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic have been felt in each of our communities. The changes in how we work, how we train employees and where we will need additional resources is equally challenging,” said Walker Zulkoski, president, Nebraska Economic Developers Association. “Through LB1014, the Legislature is making needed investments in incentive pay, college capital investments and workforce issues, such as apprenticeship and customized workforce training programs. These substantial one-time investments will prove their worth many years down the road.”
The $391 million recommendations follow $145 million in biennial budget adjustments associated with Good Life Game Changer priorities, which recently gained first-round approval in the Legislature.
In January, the “Good Life Game Changer” coalition, comprised of the Nebraska Economic Developers Association, the NE Chamber, the NE Chambers Association, the Lincoln Chamber of Commerce and the Greater Omaha Chamber of Commerce, unveiled policy priorities to take advantage of once-in-a-lifetime economic opportunities and federal recovery funds to help Nebraskans, their communities, and their employers compete better globally over the coming decades. The priorities align with priority initiatives identified in the Blueprint Nebraska plan for economic growth through 2030. Learn more at nechamber.com.
Additional statements by coalition members
Jason Ball, president, Lincoln Chamber of Commerce: “The Lincoln Chamber is proud to be part of the effort to strengthen our workforce, fund additional infrastructure and further enhance Nebraska communities.”
Derek Rusher, president, NE Chambers Association; president / CEO Kearney Area Chamber of Commerce: “The investment in Nebraska’s workforce is a top priority for local chambers across the state. These recommendations will positively impact retaining and attracting talent and ultimately growing our communities.”
David G. Brown, president and CEO, Greater Omaha Chamber of Commerce: “Nebraska is facing a once-in-a-generation chance to invest in our most important opportunities, and now is the time to seize it. We are grateful that the Legislature has recognized that talent, workforce and investing in our crucial infrastructure are such vital priorities and wholly support this Game Changer.”
Chambers, economic developers back workforce, infrastructure provisions in budget proposal
LINCOLN – A statewide coalition of chambers and economic developers Tuesday recognized legislative leaders for advancing key budget recommendations out of committee that are key to attracting and retaining talent, building supply chain resilience and creating new opportunities for all Nebraskans.
“While these budget proposals are not final, this package could make a real impact on workforce and economic growth over the coming decade,” said NE Chamber President Bryan Slone. “They reflect a growing public policy focus on ensuring Nebraska’s competitiveness.”
Specifically, the mainline budget adjustment bill (LB1011), funds transfer bill (LB1012), and cash reserve transfer bill (LB1013) contain provisions prioritized by the statewide “Good Life Game Changer” coalition in legislative priorities this year, including:
The budget adjustment package also allocates more than $200 million to enhance outdoor recreation across the state, adjusts the Nebraska’s Business Innovation Act to spur additional investment, and expands the state’s high-skill, high-demand, high-wage (H3) career scholarship program.
“From infrastructure to workforce housing to job training – this proposed budget adjustment hits on many items facing communities of all sizes in their efforts to improve the economy and quality of life here in Nebraska,” said Walker Zulkoski, president, Nebraska Economic Developers Association.
In January, the “Good Life Game Changer” coalition, comprised of the Nebraska Economic Developers Association, the NE Chamber, the NE Chambers Association, the Lincoln Chamber of Commerce and the Greater Omaha Chamber of Commerce, unveiled policy priorities to take advantage of once-in-a-lifetime economic opportunities and federal recovery funds to help Nebraskans, their communities, and their employers compete better globally over the coming decades. Learn more at nechamber.com.
LINCOLN – Twenty-eight Nebraska leaders were recognized with certificates and commemorative awards for completing Class XIII of Leadership Nebraska at a commencement ceremony held Thursday, March 3.
Graduates are current and emerging leaders from communities throughout Nebraska. The program enhances their leadership skills and deepens their knowledge of the challenges and opportunities facing our state. Leadership Nebraska is dedicated to the development of informed leaders who understand issues, define problems, develop solutions and achieve positions of higher responsibility in Nebraska.
“Strong leaders are critical to building thriving communities and a resilient, growing economy,” said Bryan Slone, NE Chamber president. “Today, we face more complex challenges than ever, but the opportunities before us are even greater. We are anxious to see how the members of Class XIII make their mark on our future.”
The program includes six, two-day sessions held in various locations across Nebraska. Topic areas include: economic development; healthcare; agriculture; education; and government and policy.
Leadership Nebraska Class XIII members who graduated March 3rd include:
Mara Anderson, Alliance Recreation Center
Matthew Reed, Great Plains Communications
Heidi Elliot, Nebraska Public Power District
Rochelle Jurgens, Central Nebraska Public Power & Irrigation District
Brenda Jensen, City of Kearney
Kelly Kreger, Path for Growth
Lisa Tschauner, University of Nebraska at Kearney
Macala Carter, Great Western Bank
Ben Martens, U.S. Bank
Nate McHargue, State Farm
Bridgett Petzoldt, Black Hills Energy
Lauren Sheridan-Simonsen, City of Neligh Economic Development
Dr. Tracy Kruse, Northeast Community College
Andrea Libengood, Daycos, Inc.
Chance Schilling, First National Bank of Omaha
NE Chamber leaders welcome 13 new members to its Board of Directors, including:
Richard Baier, President and CEO, Nebraska Bankers Association, Lincoln, serving as Public Affairs Council Chair
Carley Bruning, Executive Director, Thayer County Economic Development Alliance, Hebron, serving as Leadership Nebraska Chair
Bob Dudley, President, Appeara, Norfolk, representing District 3
Dan Harbeke, Head of Public Policy and External Affairs, Google, Papillion, representing District 1
Zac Karpf, President, Platte Valley Bank, Scottsbluff, representing District 6
Steve Konnath, Chief Actuary, Underwriting and Analytics Officer, Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Nebraska, Omaha, representing District 1
Heather Macholan, President – Industrial Products, Behlen Mfg. Co., Columbus, representing District 3
Heath Mello, Vice President for University Affairs, University of Nebraska, Lincoln, serving as Education Council Chair
Anwar Rida, President, TMCO, Inc., Lincoln, representing District 2
Kim Rowell, Omaha Market Vice President, Cox Communications, Omaha, serving as Diversity and Inclusion Council Chair
Derek Rusher, President and CEO, Kearney Area Chamber of Commerce, Kearney; serving as NE Chambers Association President and Small Business Council Chair
Michael Schaefer, Plant Manager, CNH Industrial, Grand Island, representing District 4
Johanna Threm, Vice President and General Manager, NUCOR Steel, Div. of NUCOR Corporation, Norfolk, serving as Vice Chair of District 3
“We are fortunate to have an active, engaged board representing a variety of businesses and sectors across the state,” said NE Chamber President Bryan Slone. “Their expertise in owning and growing a business, as well as helping build communities, ensures we deliver on our mission of keeping Nebraska businesses competitive and enhancing opportunity for all Nebraskans.”
Directors are nominated by existing board members and elected by the broader NE Chamber membership to serve three-year terms. In addition to promoting economic growth across the state, the NE Chamber Board of Directors establishes the association’s policies with input from members, including 12 policy councils.
As the largest statewide business association since 1912, the NE Chamber promotes and protects Nebraska’s free enterprise system by ensuring a competitive business climate, economic growth and greater prosperity for all Nebraskans. In January, the NE Chamber unveiled the “Good Life Game Changer” policy priorities in partnership with several chambers and economic developers across the state. The priorities take advantage of once-in-a-lifetime economic opportunities and federal recovery funds to help Nebraskans, their communities, and their employers compete better globally over the next three decades. Learn more at nechamber.com.
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