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Nebraska officials give update on state’s growth, business education programs

Published: Nov. 22, 2021 at 10:11 AM CST
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LINCOLN, Neb. (WOWT) - Gov. Pete Ricketts is holding a news conference Monday morning on Nebraska growth.

Before talking about the state’s apprenticeship program, Ricketts started his news conference applauding the efforts of those fighting the Buffalo Creek fire in the Panhandle.

The governor talked about the work at Grand Island public schools, where students were working with CNH to learn welding and other manufacturing skills. The program is part of the state’s Developing New Talent Initiative, Ricketts said.

Ricketts declared November “Apprenticeship Month” for the state.

A grant allows the state to give aid to employers to establish apprenticeships, said John Albin, Nebraska’s Commissioner of Labor.

“We’ve made it an easy entrance,” Albin said.

Asked how the state’s low unemployment affects these sorts of programs, Ricketts said companies tell him they have a challenge finding qualified workers, which underscores the importance of getting such programs in place. The governor said the state has ads in different parts of the country, including Texas and California, highlighting the benefits of living and working Nebraska.

The state also emphasizes hiring veterans, holding job fairs that target that segment of the workforce as well as others coaxing Nebraskans back into the workforce, the governor said. Currently, the state has 17 business partners participating in the program, focusing on skilled jobs and technical science fields.

Ricketts said the state would consider expanding the program in Grand Island into other communities, should there be an interested local school district and prospective business or businesses to partner with them. The governor said similar programs — working with juniors in high school and older — have happened in Lincoln with Southeast Community College partnering; with Scottsbluff’s Career Academy; as well as in Norfolk.

Other topics

POLITICS: Ricketts said he wasn’t prepared to endorse a candidate for next year’s gubernatorial election, but indicated that he would have an endorsement in the future.

CRITICAL RACE THEORY: The governor had harsh words for university officials when responding to questions about NU President Ted Carter’s open letter issued Monday morning regarding the University of Nebraska’s plan to address institutional racism.

UNL Chancellor Ronnie Green announced a program to recruit minorities, highlighting “anti-racism” as a component of that strategy — a direction the governor said is Critical Race Theory, something he strongly opposes.

“The chancellor of the university... is violating the Constitution,” Ricketts said. “...I was misled by Ronnie Green. I don’t believe anything he says anymore. I could not be more disgusted.”

Watch Monday’s news conference

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