Chambers, economic developers comment on adoption of $700 million in workforce, infrastructure priorities
LINCOLN – A statewide coalition of chambers and economic developers Thursday thanked state leaders for adopting plans that direct nearly $700 million in one-time, American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) and budget funds to initiatives that aid economic recovery by attracting and retaining talent, building communities and supply chain, and creating new opportunities for all Nebraskans
Bryan Slone, president, NE Chamber
“Today is a good day for the Good Life. From committee hearings to floor debate, state senators have been committed to delivering game-changing investments with federal ARPA funds that truly enhance the quality of life in communities throughout the state and our ability to compete. Their plan contains many of our recommendations for post-pandemic economic recovery investments, including expanded job training and apprenticeships, workforce housing, community college workforce development resources, shovel-ready capital projects, and greater childcare capacity. These investments are key to positioning our communities and our businesses to compete and win the race for talent, new residents, and economic growth.”
Walker Zulkoski, president, Nebraska Economic Developers Association
“Nebraska businesses, communities, and workers were hit hard by the scope and duration of the pandemic. NEDA is pleased to see Nebraska's legislators prioritizing closing the gap on the state's housing shortage, workforce development, and economic recovery for our employers.”
Jason Ball, president, Lincoln Chamber of Commerce
“The Lincoln Chamber is thrilled to see these initiatives moved forward that will help grow our state through targeted investment, expansion of programming and transformational projects. This funding will have a profound impact on the continued development of our local economies and greatly enhance how our people and our businesses can grow together in Nebraska.”
Derek Rusher, president, NE Chambers Association; president / CEO, Kearney Area Chamber of Commerce
“As we near the end of the legislative session, we would like to extend our thanks to our senators who continue to prioritize the development of Nebraska’s workforce and infrastructure, both of which will strengthen our local communities. As we continue to navigate the major issues that are impacting Nebraska, we welcome these one-time, game-changing investments that will attract and retain talent, prepare future generations of workers, and grow our economy to build a more prosperous Nebraska.”
David G. Brown, president and CEO, Greater Omaha Chamber of Commerce
“Just like every community in Nebraska, Omaha is in a race to attract and retain talent with cutting-edge jobs. The competition is stiff. While we have certainly competed well for major projects, the opportunities knocking on our door today can bring monumental growth. The state’s commitment to investing in workforce, growing opportunities for our underrepresented communities, infrastructure, innovation and community building is critical to our ability to land the next generation of opportunities. Between thoughtful tax relief and a strategic recovery plan, legislators made a statement today that will definitely turn heads and bring deals, next-era jobs and new residents from all walks of life our way.”
Between the ARPA funding package (LB1014 and LB1024) and the budget adjustment package (LB1011, LB1012, and LB1013), nearly $700 million will be invested in the following “Good Life Game Changer” priorities or similar initiatives through FY2024:
The budget adjustment package also allocates more than $200 million to enhance outdoor recreation across the state, adjusts Nebraska’s Business Innovation Act to spur additional investment, and expands the state’s high-skill, high-demand, high-wage (H3) career scholarship program.
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 proposals align with priority initiatives identified in the Blueprint Nebraska plan for economic growth through 2030. Learn more at nechamber.com.
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