Two Nebraska companies receive $125,000 grants to train youth for in-demand jobs
LINCOLN, Neb. (KLKN) — During a press conference held by Gov. Pete Ricketts on Monday, two Nebraska companies were awarded $250,000 in grant money through the state’s Developing Youth Talent Initiative.
The program seeks to address worker shortages in Nebraska, specifically among jobs that require specific training that some employers struggle to fill.
The Nebraska Department of Economic Development will administer the funds.
MetalQuest and 21st Century Equipment were awarded $125,000 each for projects they say will impact over 3,000 students across 15 counties. The companies will use the funds to help local schools create curriculum for robotics, coding and navigational software in agriculture.
“The Developing Youth Talent Initiative encourages partnership between private sector companies and schools to expose middle schoolers to the rewarding careers we have right here in Nebraska,” Ricketts said.
The initiative begins in seventh or eight grade, introducing Nebraska students to careers in manufacturing, information technology, engineering and health care.
The state also provides resources and funding for students interested in these fields through high school and secondary training or college.
“We are experiencing a critical need for talented professionals who possess the skills in information technology, math, and science to propel our industries forward and address labor shortages,” Economic Development Director Anthony Goins said. “The Developing Youth Talent Initiative is a program that has immense importance for the mission to grow our state and create opportunities for our young people.”
So far, the governor’s office reports that the grants have reached over 24,000 students since the initiative’s inception in 2015.
21st Century Equipment plans to build a mobile learning lab to teach students across the Nebraska Panhandle about technology used in precision agriculture.
MetalQuest will purchase construction equipment to introduce students in Gage, Jefferson and Thayer counties to industrial robotics automation.