<![CDATA[Nebraska Chamber of Commerce & Industry - Chamber News]]>Tue, 22 Feb 2022 16:46:50 -0800EditMySite<![CDATA[Leadership Nebraska Accepting Applications]]>Thu, 27 Jan 2022 20:42:48 GMThttps://www.nechamber.com/chamber-news/leadership-nebraska-accepting-applications​LINCOLN – Applications are now being accepted for the NE Chamber’s Leadership Nebraska – the statewide leadership program that prepares Nebraskans who want to play a key role in helping their community and state thrive.
Applications must be received in the NE Chamber office on or before April 15, 2022. Applications can be completed online and submitted, e-mailed or mailed. 
Leadership Nebraska is beginning its fourteenth year of developing informed leaders who wish to gain more in-depth knowledge about Nebraska issues, define the problems, develop solutions and achieve positions of higher responsibility. Those who participate in this unique leadership program are selected from different regions of the state. They possess varied backgrounds and diverse talents. Participants should have demonstrated community and professional leadership experiences and should have an abiding interest in Nebraska and its future.
The year-long program consists of six sessions, each of which lasts two and a half days. The sessions cover a broad range of key Nebraska issues – such as economic development, health care, education, agriculture, government and policy.
“The depth chart of strong leaders in our communities and state is a key factor in Nebraska’s ability to compete and win in the race for talent, new residents, new employers and even new markets,” said Bryan Slone, president of the NE Chamber. “Leadership Nebraska truly helps develop and connect our next generation of great leaders.”
Leadership Nebraska’s next class will begin with an orientation retreat in June at Lied Lodge in Nebraska City. Other sessions will be held in August, September, October, November and January. A commencement ceremony will be held in Lincoln in February 2023. The application form and all session dates are posted at www.leadershipnebraska.com.
Tuition for the 2022-2023 class is $3,500, which includes all meals and lodging. Individuals not sponsored by an organization or employer may be eligible for a scholarship, based on financial need. For more information, please contact Leadership Nebraska’s executive director, Roberta Pinkerton, at the NE Chamber, 402-480-6918.
<![CDATA[NE Chamber, News Channel Nebraska to host six gubernatorial candidates in a forum for business community]]>Mon, 24 Jan 2022 15:53:29 GMThttps://www.nechamber.com/chamber-news/ne-chamber-news-channel-nebraska-to-host-six-gubernatorial-candidates-in-a-forum-for-business-communityLINCOLN – The NE Chamber and News Channel Nebraska are hosting gubernatorial candidates’ forum for community business leaders, broadcast on the television network across the state on Thursday, February 3, at 3:15 to 4:30 p.m. Central.

Six announced candidates plan to participate, including:
  • Carol Blood
  • Charles Herbster
  • Brett Lindstrom
  • Jim Pillen
  • Breland Ridenour
  • Theresa Thibodeau

“We face a major crossroads coming out of the pandemic, both in business and as a state,” said Bryan Slone, NE Chamber president. “We need to make some game-changing moves to address workforce, innovation, community-building and taxes. We appreciate the time our candidates are making to meet with us and discuss their views.”

In-person attendance is limited to candidates, a few staff and news media covering the event. News Channel Nebraska will stream the forum live across its statewide network of television stations, as well as online at central.newschannelnebraska.com/watch. NE Chamber members and community business leaders across the state are invited to register for free at nechamber.com to add the online event to their personal calendars or simply tune in.

The forum will include short opening and closing statements from each candidate, with opportunities to respond to a list of questions shared in advance. Tara Lea, executive director of the Fremont Area Chamber of Commerce and NE Chambers Association executive, will moderate the forum. Although News Channel Nebraska holds exclusive rights to livestreaming and television broadcast, additional media passes are available. Contact Holley Salmi at the NE Chamber to reserve a pass.

As the largest statewide business association since 1912, the NE Chamber promotes and protects Nebraska’s free enterprise system by ensuring a competitive business climate, economic growth and greater prosperity for all Nebraskans. In January, the NE Chamber unveiled the “Good Life Game Changer” policy priorities in partnership with several chambers and economic developers across the state. The priorities 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 next three decades.  Learn more at nechamber.com.
Carol Blood
Charles Herbster
Brett Lindstrom
Jim Pillen
Breland Ridenour
Theresa Thibodeau
<![CDATA[2022 Nebraska Business Hall of Fame Honorees Announced]]>Tue, 11 Jan 2022 20:23:16 GMThttps://www.nechamber.com/chamber-news/2022-nebraska-business-hall-of-fame-honorees-announcedMcCarthy, Sampson, Thesenvitz to be inducted February 3 at NE Chamber Banquet
LINCOLN – The NE Chamber and the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL) College of Business today announced the 2022 inductees into the Nebraska Business Hall of Fame, including:
  • Mike McCarthy, McCarthy Capital of Omaha;
  • John Sampson, Sampson Construction of Lincoln; and
  • Gloria Thesenvitz, Nova-Tech, Inc. of Grand Island.
The three will officially be inducted at the NE Chamber’s Annual Meeting and Hall of Fame Banquet Thursday, February 3, at a 5 p.m. reception and 6:30 p.m. banquet held at the Lincoln Marriott Cornhusker Hotel. To join in honoring these individuals and their families, register at web.nechamber.com/events or contact the NE Chamber at 402-474-4422. To sponsor, contact James Berringer at 402-474-4717 or jberringer@nechamber.com.

“Our honorees this year really embody the ingenuity, determination and service to community and neighbor that characterize the Good Life,” said Bryan Slone, NE Chamber president. “Their personal drive and vision of growth have literally brought about game-changing opportunities in both their communities and the quality of life for others.”

McCarthy, Sampson and Thesenvitz join a distinguished group of more than 120 business leaders whose work to grow their businesses in Nebraska have made a significant impact on the free enterprise system, Nebraska’s economy, overall job opportunities and quality of life in their communities. Candidates are nominated by individuals from the business community, business associations and academia. The program was established in 1992 by the NE Chamber and UNL College of Business. 

“Our three inductees are leaders in their industries and great examples for our students and other entrepreneurs who want to lead the future of business. Gloria, John and Mike also give back to their communities and the state through advocacy, service and support,” said Kathy Farrell, James Jr. and Susan Stuart Dean of the UNL College of Business.

“Celebrating the success of strong, civic-minded members of our business community means celebrating strong communities and decades of growth and good jobs,” Slone said. “They give us an example to which we can aspire.”

The NE Chamber is the largest, statewide business association, proudly serving as the voice of Nebraska’s business community since 1912. The organization promotes and protects Nebraska’s free enterprise system by ensuring a competitive business climate, economic growth and greater prosperity for all Nebraskans. Learn more at nechamber.com.
MIKE MCCARTHY, McCarthy Capital, Omaha
Mike McCarthy is founder of McCarthy Group, a private equity firm headquartered in Omaha since its founding in 1986.  The investment firm, with affiliates, manages more than $10 billion in capital, with roots in construction and contracting, expanding to agricultural and real estate development and property management over the years.  Mike serves on the boards of the Joslyn Art Museum, the Omaha Community Foundation, United Way of the Midlands, the Omaha Zoo and Creighton University, among others. He is the current chair of Heritage Services and a board member of Lasting Hope Recovery Center. He has also held numerous professional directorships on corporate boards, including Kiewit Corporation, Union Pacific, Cabela’s, HDR and Election Systems & Software.
JOHN SAMPSON, Sampson Construction, Lincoln
John has been the President and CEO of Sampson Construction since 1995.  Under his leadership, Sampson Construction has completed over $3 billion in commercial building projects in Nebraska, Colorado, Wyoming, South Dakota, Iowa, Kansas, Nevada and Illinois.  Throughout his commercial construction career with Sampson, John has served in all types of project management and development roles.  His day-to-day focus is to manage the assignment, deployment, and use of the firm’s resources at each of its five locations.  As a result, he forms strong, ongoing relationships with project management teams, project owners, subcontractors, and community leaders.  These relationships allow Sampson Construction to stay on the leading edge of the market and continue to deliver high-quality construction services across the Midwest.
GLORIA THESENVITZ, Nova-Tech, Inc., Grand Island
Gloria Thesenvitz is founder and board chair for Nova-Tech, Inc., a nationally recognized provider of custom aseptic fill manufacturing services and private label IV fluids to the animal health industry throughout the United States and Canada.  In 2011, the site transfer of manufacturing into a new plant located in the Platte Valley Industrial Tract in Grand Island laid the foundation for three additions, each bringing significant growth through growing production and technical capabilities. A strong advocate for education, quality jobs, women entrepreneurs and rural Nebraska, Gloria has reinvested her talents, time and resources serving on multiple community and state boards. Gloria is the recipient of the Governor’s Bioscience Award and the Grand Island Independent’s Woman of the Year in 2017.
Mike McCarthy
McCarthy Capital
John Sampson
Sampson Construction
Gloria Thesenvitz
Nova-Tech, Inc. 
Grand Island
<![CDATA[​NE Chamber, Senators Unveil Good Life Game Changer Priorities]]>Fri, 07 Jan 2022 19:12:31 GMThttps://www.nechamber.com/chamber-news/ne-chamber-senators-unveil-good-life-game-changer-prioritiesLINCOLN – The NE Chamber and key state senators today outlined 2022 legislative measures to make game-changing progress in developing and attracting talent, bolstering infrastructure, driving innovation and enhancing quality of life for all Nebraskans through 2050.
“Ask any sector, any community, what is the #1 challenge holding you back? It’s people,” said Bryan Slone, NE Chamber president. “We need everyone we have and more, and we need them right now.”
This year, state leaders face unprecedented opportunities to leverage $1 billion in American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds, healthy state revenues and strong public-private partnerships to accelerate the state’s economic recovery through 2026.
“Our big ideas for a stronger, more vibrant Nebraska can happen. The time is now,” Slone added. “Bold moves in 2022 will break the status quo, boost quality of life and grow the economy at a size and scale not seen in a century.”
The NE Chamber, with local chambers of commerce (Lincoln, Omaha, and the NE Chambers Association), as well as the Nebraska Economic Developers Association, are asking state leaders to prioritize programs that:
  1. Solve workforce
  2. Redefine infrastructure
  3. Drive innovation
  4. Empower communities
  5. Modernize Nebraska’s tax system
Proposals, developed in concert with several state senators, focus on one-time, game-changing investments in existing programs that already have significant impact in communities of all sizes across the state. They also align with initiatives in the Blueprint Nebraska strategic economic development plan.
Solve Workforce
Senator Mike Flood of Norfolk will introduce a $120 million workforce proposal to boost the talent pipeline and retain and attract young people in Nebraska, including:
  • five times more funding ($50 million) for thousands of new high school and student internships;
  • 60% more funding ($20 million) in apprenticeships and customized job training; and
  • Five times more funding ($50 million) into Nebraska’s national talent recruitment campaign, The Good Life is Calling.
Redefine Infrastructure
Senator John Arch of Papillion will introduce a $195 million package to ramp up both public and private investment in infrastructure to bolster domestic supply chains and spur economic growth, including:
  • 50% to 60% more funding ($30 million) to three infrastructure and industrial site development programs used heavily by communities statewide;
  • Fully funding the ImagiNE Nebraska Revolving Loan program with an added $15 million to encourage private investment in job training, talent recruitment, childcare or transportation; and
  • One-time investments in mega-site development (500 -1000+ acres) to compete for the largest supply-chain projects shopping for a home now.
Drive Innovation
Senator Mark Kolterman of Seward introduced a $100 million proposal to invigorate the state’s transformation to tech-enabled commerce through one-time research and development, modernization and technology grants to businesses.
Senator Anna Wishart of Lincoln will sponsor legislation to infuse an additional $20 million into Nebraska’s Business Innovation Act to boost prototyping, product development and commercialization, and scaling of startup sectors.
Empower Communities
Chambers of commerce and economic developers across the state have joined in coalition with other advocates to support policies that ramp up every community’s ability to attract new families, including:
  • Existing housing development grant programs (Rural Workforce, Middle Workforce, Affordable Housing Trust Fund, Low-Income Housing Tax Credits);
  • Community Vitality Grants, such as the Civic and Community Center Financing Fund;
  • Childcare infrastructure and workforce, such as WAGE$, T.E.A.C.H., public-private partnerships, and addressing the benefits cliff;
  • Large-scale recreational investments, such as those being investigated by the Legislature’s STARWARS Committee;
  • Statewide electric vehicle charging infrastructure; and
  • Statewide broadband and high-speed internet access.
Modernize our Tax System
Blueprint Nebraska proposed a framework for modernizing Nebraska’s tax code to better match our 21st Century economy, lower tax burden for all Nebraskans and sustain revenues necessary to meet commitments to public services and education. The NE Chamber supports this framework in concept.
“The combination of fiscal restraint, keeping Nebraska’s economy open as much as possible during the pandemic, and increasing demand for Nebraska goods and services has resulted in hundreds of millions in excess tax revenue and a healthy cash reserve – opening a rare opportunity to modernize,” Slone said.
The NE Chamber is focused on modernization that prioritizes talent and capital attraction, economic growth, income tax rates comparable with peer states, and safeguards against high consumer prices and property tax increases.
The NE Chamber is the largest, statewide business association and has proudly served as the voice of Nebraska’s business community since 1912. The organization promotes and protects Nebraska’s free enterprise system by ensuring a competitive business climate, economic growth and greater prosperity for all Nebraskans. The Good Life Game Changer agenda is available at nechamber.com.
<![CDATA[Workforce shortage dominates business leader priorities]]>Wed, 10 Nov 2021 14:32:01 GMThttps://www.nechamber.com/chamber-news/workforce-shortage-dominates-business-leader-prioritiesLINCOLN – Lack of available talent, in addition to factors that heavily impact community population growth, dominate the priorities of community business leaders going into 2022, according to an informal study released today by the NE Chamber.
These results from a summer of member surveys and listening sessions in 10 communities were released at the NE Chamber Economic Development Summit titled “Help Wanted: Solving Nebraska’s Workforce Crisis”.
“It’s almost all about people – where they want to work, what they need, what they enjoy, and what makes them stay,” said Bryan Slone, NE Chamber president. “This summit is one way we are telling our members and community leaders that we hear you loud and clear, and we are mobilizing even more to help.”
Approximately 300 community business leaders weighed in on top issues or opportunities impacting growth of their businesses and communities. When asked to rank their top three to five challenges and opportunities during recovery, 92% of participants put skilled workforce on the list. Housing at 67%, education and childcare at 54%, and recreation at 50% topped the list of opportunities facing communities. Other factors, such as technology, regulation and tax and infrastructure continue to weigh heavily on the minds of business leaders.
Slone pointed to a series of efforts that the NE Chamber promoted in 2021 to rebuild hard-hit sectors, recharge workforce with recruitment and customized training programs, expand childcare assistance to families that helps open career opportunities, deliver the first corporate income tax cut rate in at least 30 years, and help communities and Nebraska’s key sectors grow. Many of the initiatives were inspired by the Blueprint Nebraska economic development plan.
“We have accomplished a lot, but we have more work to do,” said Slone. “Nebraska also has a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to deliver game-changing results due to infusions of federal funding after the pandemic. Now’s the time to think big.”
Also at the summit, Vice President of Institutional Effectiveness T. Hank Robinson, Ph.D., provided data on employment trends feeding the workforce crisis. Nebraska Department of Economic Development Director Tony Goins gave details on the state’s marketing campaign to attract new residents. Four breakout sessions were focused on inspiring solutions to the housing, childcare, technology and recreational challenges facing communities and employers. Top sponsors for the event included Facebook, Google, Lincoln Industries, Nebraska Public Power District, and 19 additional companies and organizations.
The NE Chamber is the largest, statewide business association and Nebraska’s affiliate of the National Association of Manufacturers. It has proudly served as the voice of Nebraska’s business community since 1912.
<![CDATA[BD, Hughes Brothers Named 2021 Manufacturers of the Year]]>Wed, 20 Oct 2021 21:30:07 GMThttps://www.nechamber.com/chamber-news/bd-hughes-brothers-named-2021-manufacturers-of-the-yearLINCOLN – BD (Becton, Dickinson and Company) and Hughes Brothers, Inc., have been named Nebraska Manufacturers of the Year. Hughes Brothers received the award for small-sized manufacturers, while BD received the award for large manufacturers.
The award recognizes Nebraska manufacturers that implement innovative ways to conduct business through the use of products, processes, technologies and strategies. The companies were honored today at the annual NE Chamber Manufacturing Summit, with top sponsor RSM US LLP, a leading provider of assurance, tax and consulting services to the manufacturing and wholesale distribution industries. Other event sponsors include Nebraska Public Power District, Ash Grove, Behlen Mfg. Co., Kawasaki Motors Manufacturing Corp., U.S.A., and Meridian Business.
“Nebraska manufacturers have been answering the call to solve America’s toughest challenges for decades. Hughes Brothers and BD are two shining examples of that ingenuity at work,” said Bryan Slone, NE Chamber president. “We’re so proud to have these companies operating and expanding in our communities.”
Small Manufacturer of the Year 

Headquartered in Seward, Hughes Brothers, produces electric transmission and distribution products to reliably transport electricity across the U.S. Products include wood, metal and fiberglass framing and fixtures, engineering services and even storm restoration kits, which have proven critical during floods, wildfires, hurricanes and a derecho.
Hughes Brothers built Nebraska’s first 115kV transmission line from Columbus to North Platte in the early 1930s, which set it up for a national role in the Rural Electrification Act during the Great Depression. Today, the company’s commitment to quality and next-era engineering make it a leader in electrical distribution solutions, with 900,000 customized products.
“It’s a big custom job shop. That’s how we started, and that’s what we still do today,” said John Hughes, president of Hughes Brothers.
The company’s 275 employees celebrated its 100th anniversary October 15, opening a museum to the public featuring the history of electric transmission in Seward.
Large Manufacturer of the Year

​BD began operations in Nebraska after World War II in response to U.S. government initiatives to diversify manufacturing geographically throughout the nation.

The Broken Bow facility is among one of the largest producers of blood collection devices to support critical care and clinical applications around the world. Operational since 1960, the facility has expanded to 300,000 square feet and 625 associates.

“The success of our company is measured on patient outcomes. We provide technology to advance healthcare for patients, clinicians and doctors,” said Dave Berge, Broken Bow plant manager. “One of the things we’re most proud of is being engaged in the fight against COVID-19.”

BD Broken Bow continues to grow and hire new associates to meet the demands of the growing market, and has expanded over the last several years, adding a new state-of-the-art additive laboratory and increasing warehouse capacity through the lease of 30,000 square foot facility. The company currently employs 3,500 Nebraskans between four facilities in Broken Bow, Columbus and Holdrege.

NE Manufacturing

Nebraska is home to more than 1,500 manufacturers employing 100,000 workers. One in 10 jobs is in manufacturing. The industry contributes more than $13.5 billion annually to Nebraska’s Gross State Product. Average annual wages in manufacturing exceeded $67,200 in 2019, the most recent year data is available.

The NE Chamber is the largest, statewide business association and Nebraska’s affiliate of the National Association of Manufacturers. It has proudly served as the voice of Nebraska’s business community since 1912.
​Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts (left) presents the Large Manufacturer of the Year Award to Plant Manager of BD Broken Bow Dave Berge (right.)
​Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts (center left) presents the Small Manufacturer of the Year Award to Hughes Brothers, Inc. President John Hughes (center right) at the NE Chamber Manufacturing Summit on October 19.
Listed from left to right:
Chantel Denker, Human Resources Manager, Hughes Brothers, Inc.
Jana Hughes, wife of John Hughes
Pete Ricketts, Governor of Nebraska
John Hughes, President, Hughes Brothers, Inc.
Lynda Hughes, wife of Ted Hughes
Patty Roth, Secretary/Treasurer, Hughes Brother, Inc.
Ted Hughes, Plant Superintendent, Hughes Brothers, Inc.
Matt Stryson, Plant Engineer, Hughes Brothers, Inc.
<![CDATA[​Women in Manufacturing – Nebraska joins alliance to promote STEM careers, sector advancement]]>Tue, 19 Oct 2021 01:21:20 GMThttps://www.nechamber.com/chamber-news/women-in-manufacturing-nebraska-joins-alliance-to-promote-stem-careers-sector-advancement
La Vista – Women in Manufacturing (WiM) – Nebraska, a professional organization created to promote, support and inspire women who choose manufacturing careers, today announced it will formally join the NE Manufacturing Alliance in work to promote STEM careers and other initiatives to support Nebraska’s fastest growing high-tech sector.

“There’s a place for everyone in manufacturing, whether you’re in sales, accounting, marketing, engineering, robotics or welding,” said Juli Thelen, Communications & Community Outreach for Behlen Mfg. Co. and Events Director for WiM Nebraska. “By the way, women are excelling in all of those fields.”

“We have one message for women looking for their next, or even their first, career move – you have a support network waiting to welcome you and help you succeed,” Thelen added.

The announcement was made today at a gathering of 50 members and supporters at the organization’s first annual breakfast held since the pandemic’s start.

Formed in 2019, WiM – Nebraska is focused on providing professional development, networking, and mentoring opportunities for female students and colleagues. Both corporations and individuals may join, with significantly reduced rates for students.
WiM – Nebraska is the fifth, statewide manufacturing organization to join the NE Manufacturing Alliance, which also includes: the state’s Nebraska Manufacturing Advisory Council (NeMAC); the Nebraska Advanced Manufacturing Coalition (NAMC); the Nebraska Manufacturing Extension Partnership (Nebraska MEP) at the University of Nebraska – Lincoln; and the NE Chamber, Nebraska’s affiliate of the National Association of Manufacturers.

The NE Manufacturing Alliance brings efficiency and alignment to initiatives that:
  • equip and educate a tech-enabled workforce;
  • promote manufacturing as a re-emerging, high-tech career path for Nebraska students;
  • deepen relationships among manufacturers to build supply-chain depth;
  • usher in a new age of research, development and Manufacturing 4.0 tech advancement;
  • advocate for policies that promote manufacturing growth; and
  • provide member education, training and networking.
The Alliance embraces the economic development priorities put forth in the Blueprint Nebraska report, Growing the Good Life. The report identified 15 signature initiatives with the greatest impact on statewide quality of life, overall job growth, attracting 18-34-year-olds and keeping the costs of doing business competitive. The plan also included a strong focus on growing key business sectors through technology adoption and innovation.
<![CDATA[Local chamber executives honored for mission-driven results]]>Mon, 11 Oct 2021 19:33:01 GMThttps://www.nechamber.com/chamber-news/local-chamber-executives-honored-for-mission-driven-resultsWorkforce, growth and quality of life remain at heart of ongoing chamber mission
SEWARD – Two local chamber of commerce executives were recognized as “Professionals of the Year” by the Nebraska Chamber of Commerce Executives (NCCE), a professional development organization comprised of the leaders of more than 50 local chambers of commerce across the state.
Tina Biteghe Bi Ndong, executive director of West Point Chamber of Commerce, took home the honor among small communities (less than 5,000 population). From dog shows to Farm-to-Fork events, Tina keeps her approach to events and communications fresh. She is a strong community and business advocate, receiving the Rural Economic Area Partnership (REAP) Extra Mile Award for small business development in 2019.
Tara Lea, executive director of Fremont Area Chamber of Commerce, received the large community award (5,000 population or more.) In addition to leadership positions in both NCCE and the Mid-America Chamber Executives, Tara has guided her community through a rebranding effort, launched unique community events and sponsorship opportunities, and found new ways to give local business exposure through social media.
“Chamber professionals are the forever advocates of main street businesses, local commerce and community growth both in their regions and the state. Their work helps build community identity and connectedness,” said Jonathan Jank, President of NCCE and the Seward County Chamber & Development Partnership. “Tara and Tina take this mission to heart every day. Their energy and success are examples for all of us.”
The new awards program was launched by NCCE in combination with “Chamber of Commerce Month” proclaimed in October by Governor Pete Ricketts. Local chamber leaders are recognized for their exceptional work and professionalism in business development, innovative programs with measurable results, organizational effectiveness and leadership in the profession and NCCE.
The Scottsbluff/Gering United Chamber of Commerce hosted the NCCE Fall Conference, featuring updates from the U.S. and NE Chambers, social media training, and a 1950s-style dinner at Cozad’s Antique Garage.
At its regular business meeting, the members of NCCE affirmed their commitment to supporting partnerships and engaging state and local leaders more urgently on economic opportunities, including:
  • Addressing workforce and related challenges, including housing, childcare and recreation;
  • Building welcoming, vibrant communities that attract new residents;
  • Advocating for infrastructure investments that fuel economic development and innovation;
  • Maintaining a competitive tax and regulatory environment for community businesses; and
  • Supporting the joint chambers’ and economic developer’s proposal for a portion of Nebraska’s $1 billion share of the American Rescue Plan Act funding,
Any local chamber in Nebraska is eligible to join NCCE. For more information, contact Jonathan Jank at jonathan@cultivatesewardcounty.com.

<![CDATA[​Chambers, Economic Developers: Workforce, economic infrastructure key in rebuilding with ARPA Funds]]>Thu, 07 Oct 2021 14:34:17 GMThttps://www.nechamber.com/chamber-news/chambers-economic-developers-workforce-economic-infrastructure-key-in-rebuilding-with-arpa-fundsLINCOLN – Leaders of chambers and economic development organizations from across the state today outlined a joint proposal to quickly ramp up workforce initiatives, talent attraction, innovation and economic infrastructure through the COVID-19 recovery. The proposal was introduced to Appropriations Committee members at an October 5 interim hearing on use of Nebraska’s approximately $1 billion in American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds.
Initiatives are organized around four key themes: workforce; business relief and growth; quality of place; and diversity, equity and inclusion.
“Although several initiatives are featured in this proposal, one common thread binds them together – workforce,” said Bryan Slone, NE Chamber president.  “Everywhere we go across the state, lack of available talent is the #1 issue holding us back from full economic recovery.”
Key considerations ask Nebraska leaders to help:
  • Empower communities to attract new families;
  • Invest in existing highly, successful workforce and economic development programs;
  • Build sustainable business and education workforce infrastructure;
  • Stimulate innovation to help fill the talent void, and drive training and higher paying jobs;
  • Market the Good Life nationally with a focus on talent recruitment; and
  • Improve the state’s “shovel-readiness” for megaprojects seeking new domestic sites right now.
“The name of the game right now in economic development, in communities of all sizes, is available workforce,” said Walker Zulkoski, President of the Nebraska Economic Developers Association. “By workforce, we don’t just mean more people, we mean people and all the infrastructure that supports them – housing, childcare, recreation, experiential learning and innovation capacity.”
The proposal complements economic development initiatives outlined in the Blueprint Nebraska statewide strategic plan, including attracting 43,000 18- to 34-year-olds to Nebraska by 2030, spurring construction of 40,000 housing units, and driving up annual income of every Nebraskan by $15,000 by stimulating innovation and tech-enabled careers and training.
Statements offered by partner organizations
Wendy Birdsall, Lincoln Chamber of Commerce President
“The Lincoln Chamber has been very pleased to collaborate with chambers of commerce and economic developers from across the state in developing a comprehensive list of recommendations for transformative investments. We appreciate that this is a start of a conversation about how to spend significant funds from the American Rescue Plan, and we look forward to partnering with all parties who are interested in growing jobs and building our workforce.”
David G. Brown, Greater Omaha Chamber of Commerce President and CEO
“To sustain and expand Nebraska’s economy, targeted investment in Nebraska’s businesses and workers will not only provide immediate assistance to those impacted by the pandemic, but also make a significant and lasting difference in advancing Nebraska’s attractiveness as a place to live, work, play and compete.” 
Jonathan Jank, Nebraska Chamber of Commerce Executives President and Seward County Chamber and Development Partnership President and CEO
“We’ve always known vibrant communities and great jobs attract new residents. Right now, quality of life is playing a greater role in families’ decisions to relocate – something Nebraska has in abundance. Our ARPA proposal will accelerate talent attraction in our area.”
Bryan Slone, NE Chamber President
“This ARPA proposal has big play potential to add to the 10-yard gains we’ve been making over the last decade. The strength of the proposal lies in how aligned a diverse group of business and community leaders can be on next steps to move our state and its residents forward.”
<![CDATA[NE Chamber, statewide partners host talent recruitment webinars]]>Tue, 14 Sep 2021 17:05:48 GMThttps://www.nechamber.com/chamber-news/ne-chamber-statewide-partners-host-talent-recruitment-webinarsLINCOLN – The NE Chamber, state officials, human resources and legal professionals, LinkedIn and local chamber and economic developers are joining forces to bring a unique set of webinars to give Nebraska businesses an edge in talent recruitment in the midst of a tight labor market. The series is titled, In Pursuit of Recruits – Simple steps that turn Nebraska’s fast recovery into your competitive advantage.
“Nebraska’s job market bounced back quickly after the worst of the pandemic recession, with one of the lowest unemployment rates in the nation,” said Bryan Slone, NE Chamber president. “That’s great news, but lack of available talent is now standing in the way of business growth. For those business owners asking what more they can do, these webinars are for you.”
Speakers will update participants on the latest recruitment trends and offer options for refreshing their tools and strategies to attract a broader pool of candidates both inside and outside of Nebraska. An employment law attorney will provide guidance on anti-discrimination and employment laws.
The low-cost webinars are open to all Nebraska businesses, including human resources and legal professionals who can recertification credits for the Society of Human Resources Management (SHRM), the Human Resource Certification Institute (HRCI) and continuing legal education (CLE). Register at nechamber.com.
LinkedIn is a sponsor of the webinar series, joining the NE Chamber, HR Simple, Knudsen Law, Nebraska Department of Economic Development, HR Nebraska, Columbus Area Chamber of Commerce and York County Development Corporation as presenters and hosts.
In Pursuit of Recruits
Simple steps that turn Nebraska’s fast recovery into your competitive advantage
(Approved for Nebraska SHRM, HRCI and CLE credits.)
Register at nechamber.com
Reimagining Hiring
Wednesday, September 15
9 a.m. Central / 8 a.m. Mountain
Cyndi Wenninghoff, HR Nebraska Representative and Employee Success Manager at Quantum Workplace, and Carly Bahramzad, employment law attorney at Knudsen Law, will discuss evolving hiring practices in a tight labor market.
Connecting with Veterans
Wednesday, September 29
9 a.m. Central / 8 a.m. Mountain
Nebraska Department of Economic Development Director Tony Goins and Chief Strategy Officer (and U.S. Navy Retired) Nichole Reiner will highlight the skill sets of transitioning servicemembers and explore ways to connect with them. Employment law attorney Carly Bahramzad reviews the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act.
Targeting Talent with Online Platforms
Wednesday, October 13
9 a.m. Central / 8 a.m. Mountain
Mark Haner, Senior Sales Manager at LinkedIn, will discuss trends the platform is tracking related to job changes, employment preferences and marketing and the company’s latest tips for finding and connecting with talent matches. Employment law attorney Carly Bahramzad will outline best practices that help businesses stay aligned with anti-discrimination laws. 
Unraveling the Mysteries of Geotargeting
Wednesday, October 27
9 a.m. Central / 8 a.m. Mountain
*CLE credits not available for this session.
Kara Asmus, Workforce Programs & Recruitment Director at Columbus Area Chamber of Commerce, and Derek Dauel, Development Coordinator at York County Development Corporation, will reveal how they leverage online tools to locate and match out-of-work employees in other states to communities and employers in Nebraska.