LINCOLN, Nebraska — March 14, 2023 — Business, elected, and education leaders, including students, spotlighted a growing need to prioritize workforce training, talent recruitment and retention initiatives in community and state economic development work. The group gathered Tuesday in the Nebraska Capitol to recognize Workforce Week, March 12 – 18, as proclaimed by Governor Jim Pillen.
“Keeping and attracting talent in our businesses and families in our communities are quickly becoming the most important issues we can address in the coming decade,” said NE Chamber President Bryan Slone. “About 50,000 to 80,000 jobs have been going unfilled over the past two years. As you can see from the team assembled today, we’re taking action.”
Nebraska has the highest workforce participation rate among all U.S. states at 69.9% and the third-lowest unemployment rates at 2.6%.
“We have great jobs for thousands of graduating and new Nebraskans in our communities today,” said Nebraska Lieutenant Governor Joe Kelly. “Working together, in public, private, and education partnerships, we can build a bright future for our children.”
“Our workforce is our people – our state’s most valuable resource. A continued focus on workforce development is about helping Nebraskans achieve their dreams by connecting them to the great high-wage jobs that can help them live, work, and raise a family right here in the Good Life,” added U.S. Rep. Mike Flood (R-NE).
The initiatives featured by the NE Chamber, and legislative and education partners today include:
In addition to the team assembled at the Nebraska Capitol Tuesday, more than 60 local chambers across the state are highlighting initiatives they and their members are taking on to meet workforce needs.
The NE Chamber is the largest statewide business and industry association, proudly serving its members since 1912. It is where members of the business community gather to help make Nebraska the best place to own, operate and grow a business. Focused on delivering economic and workforce growth and a competitive business climate, members also gain a network of engaged, connected business leaders across the state. In 2023, the NE Chamber launched priorities to “Accelerate Our State”, with specific initiatives outlined to address workforce, modernize taxes and drive innovation. Learn more at nechamber.com.
Additional Statements from Workforce Week Partners
Loren Lippincott, Nebraska Senator, District 34
“Nebraska is the only state that doesn’t provide state funding towards Career Technical Education (CTE) programs. That’s why I’ve introduced LB610, a bill that appropriates funds to the Department of Education for Perkins CTE programs. Students from Scottsbluff to Syracuse stand to benefit from these investments. In just a few short years, they’ll be our manufacturers, educators, doctors, nurses, farmers, and business owners. Let’s make sure they’re ready.”
Kathleen Kauth, Nebraska Senator, District 31
“In a state with a tight labor market and plenty of remote-capable jobs, our businesses are looking out of state to expand the hiring pool. Yet, Nebraska is one of just five states that collects income taxes from these workers – even if they never set foot in Nebraska. LB416 would fix that.”
Matt Gotschall, President, Central Community College President
"Nebraska community colleges are excited about the several workforce related bills addressing manufacturing modernization, housing rehabilitation and infrastructure improvements because that means more job opportunities for our students that support the communities we serve.”
Heath Mello, Vice President, External Relations, University of Nebraska
“With 11,000 new graduates every year and world-class research and education programs, the University of Nebraska plays a crucial role in building a highly skilled workforce for our state. We are fully committed to working closely with our public and private partners to solve this urgent challenge and ensure a prosperous future for Nebraska.”
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