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.”
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