Tech talent crisis sweeps Nebraska, business leaders warn

A diagnostic medical imaging services company based has agreed to pay $3,000,000 to the U.S....
A diagnostic medical imaging services company based has agreed to pay $3,000,000 to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services./ Source: MGN(WVLT)
Published: Oct. 14, 2019 at 6:09 PM CDT
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Nebraska businesses say there are not enough people to fill technology jobs, and they’re calling it a talent crisis.

Business and education leaders issued dire warnings Monday afternoon at the Nebraska Innovations Campus in Lincoln.

Jona Von Deun with Nebraska Tech Collaborative wants to fix this problem.

“Our solution at Nebraska Tech Collaborative, we’re going to create our own pipeline,” said Von Deun.

More than 100 businesses and technology experts have been recruited to turn around the disturbing trend. The new initiatives revealed this afternoon are a real challenge to companies, educators, and lawmakers.

The idea is to make sure kids from kindergarten to high school graduation know what technology jobs are out there. It’s not just about people writing code for programs anymore.

Mike Cassling with Nebraska Tech Collaborative and CQuence Health worries about the students we already have.

“How do we keep kids in the state from leaving? We have a large outflux of people who leave. How do we get them to stay? We also have to start selling Nebraska."

Organizers said the number of young people leaving the state are "staggering." The Aksarben Foundation Board of Directors will take a deeper dive into that a meeting later this week.

Business and education leaders stress that if Nebraska isn’t at the forefront to create a new generation of tech workers, another state will.

“The pay is starting to be the same across the country. Google and Facebook are saying you can work out of Lincoln if you want and we’ll pay the same as we pay in Silicon Valley. Our pay scale has gone up significantly for tech workers,” said Michael Dunlap with Nelnet.

Which is good news for those who want to keep the hometown quality of life.

"This kind of an effort is unprecedented," said Sandra Reding with the Aksarben Foundation. " These businesses compete for the same talent, but they know how serious of an issue this is and they want to create an ecosystem where kids are learning in grade school what types of jobs are available."

Beyond the appeal of higher wages and flexibility with tech jobs, paid internships are another suggestion to boost the tech workforce. Along with adding more scholarships designed for those types of students, to keep those kids from getting them elsewhere.

The Nebraska Tech Collaborative will hold a summit at the Strategic Air Command Museum in Ashland on November 1.