Newton County Indiana | Nonprofit Research & Development

#Indiana interns Courtney & Riley did an awesome job prepping for a crowd of 170 at their seminar today! #RFIServiceship #lovewhereyoulive” - @rural_futures | June 8, 2017

Team #Indiana started Week 1 by assisting w/ a volunteerism seminar on multigenerational engagement by Dr. Ken Culp III. #RFIServiceship” - @rural_futures | June 8, 2017

Riley and Courtney conducted county-wide surveys of both nonprofits and community members.
Riley and Courtney stayed busy hosting booths at several Newton and Jasper county events.

“Riley & Courtney zoomed in from #Indiana to discuss how they marketed #nonprofit community development grants in #rural #NewtonCounty” - @rural_futures | August 10, 2017

Newton County Indiana | Nonprofit Research & Development

Riley Hickman and Courtney Feagans participated in a pilot program that set their 2017 Serviceship experience apart from the rest. Based in Newton County, Indiana, the team was funded by the Jasper Foundation, and traveled to the University of Nebraska-Lincoln campus to participate in Rural Futures Serviceship training.

When they returned to Indiana, their projects entailed surveying and interviewing Newton County residents and nonprofits, as well as assisting with day-to-day office responsibilities at the Foundation. Their goal was to identify ways for the Jasper Foundation, Inc. and the Newton County Community Foundation to allocate grant money and financial resources.

From their research, Courtney and Riley discovered that Newton County residents are open to progression; however, most remain wary of bringing a larger city culture to their rural communities. They also identified a desire of community members to get involved—but noted that most are unsure of how to go about it.

In their spare time, Courtney and Riley served Newton County by assisting elementary teachers in the area with technology. They taught the teachers how to use Weebly and helped them create classroom websites. The two also hosted a volunteer fair, and Courtney spent a week working with an organization called Teen Mission.

 

Thank you to the Indiana host team!

Brienne Hooker, Executive Director, Jasper Foundation, Inc. and Newton County Community Foundation

 

York | Community Marketing & LB840

 

York, Neb. | Community Marketing & LB840

University of Nebraska-Lincoln students Shelby Riggs and Emily Coffey spent their summer partnering with York County Development Corporation and the York Chamber of Commerce to complete various community marketing projects, as well as conduct research regarding the feasibility of implementing LB840 in the York community.

LB840, also known as the Local Option Municipal Economic Development Act, would authorize York to implement a sales or property tax for the purpose of creating a fund to offer loans and grants to local economic development projects. Emily and Shelby spent much of their summer conducting research and surveys to determine if and how to move forward with a city-wide vote on the LB840 issue in May. Their survey garnered nearly 400 responses. The team also reached out to all 69 Nebraska communities in which LB840 is currently implemented, asking them to share the details of their plans for the act, as well as successes and challenges that surfaced during the process of passing it. Their LB840 research was compiled in a database that will continue to be maintained and used by other communities interested in implementing the tax measure.

The two also assisted with a number of secondary community projects, one of which included planning and fundraising for the town’s annual Independence Day celebration—“Fireworks Frenzy” on July 3. They also helped coordinate the “Towers of York” community-wide art initiative by taking photos of each tower and using Photoshop and Hootsuite to edit each photo and publish it on the York Chamber’s social media platforms. Finally, Emily and Shelby met with several downtown business owners and assisted with York’s Downtown Revitalization project.

 

#RFIServiceship interns Emily & Shelby hit the ground running this week in #York. They took a brain break yesterday at @RedbeardsCoffee!” - @rural_futures | June 6, 2017

“The #YorkNE #RFIServiceship team is having a blast with the community. Emily golfed with the Young Professionals & @yorknechamber today!” - @rural_futures | June 16, 2017

#RFIServiceship intern Shelby opened a Contract Livestock Production Opportunities panel on Tuesday in #York! ” - @rural_futures | June 16, 2017

During June Shelby and Emily assisted with fund raising for an annual York community event that occurs on July 3, known as "Fireworks Frenzy." They distributed "star banks" in local businesses around town and checked in to empty them on a regular basis. 
Shelby prepares for her filmed interview with the RFI Communications Team during June check-in.

#RFIServiceship interns Emily & Shelby made another stop at @RedbeardsCoffee today on a mission to show the comms interns around #YorkNE!” - @rural_futures | June 22, 2017

#RFIServiceship Emily & Shelby interns sat in on @SenSasse's office hours to learn more about local issues & needs in #YorkNE.” - @rural_futures | June 27, 2017

#RFIServiceship interns Emily & Shelby went LIVE on @1049maxcountry in #YorkNE to discuss & promote @YorkNEDevCo's latest marketing survey!” - @rural_futures |  June 29, 2017

Leadership Engagement Director Kayla Schnuelle tagged a long for the July check-in. 
" hosts interns to teach students about the community! " - @kschnuelle | July 10

“Thank you, @AIMCareerlink for hosting #YorkESI17 and #RFIServiceship interns last week! They loved learning about start-ups and innovation!” - @rural_futures | July 18, 2017

“Our #YorkNE #RFIServiceship team helped represent @YorkNEDevCo at the governor's economic development summit last week!” - @rural_futures | July 19, 2017

“The RFI comms team is on the road again. Stay tuned for footage of all that the #RFIServiceship teams have accomplished for #rural! ” - @rural_futures | July 27, 2017

“Did the comms interns really stop in #YorkNE if the #RFIServiceship team didn't take them to @RedbeardsCoffee after an interview session?- @rural_futures | July 27, 2017

#RFIServiceship #YorkNE enjoyed grabbing coffee with these ladies in #BenedictNE!
‘They were incredible role models & wonderful company!’” - @rural_futures | August 1, 2017

"#YorkNE interns spent the day serving their community at the York County Fair, admiring the art and agriculture entries! #RFIServiceship ” - @rural_futures | August 4, 2017
“That's a wrap! #RFIServiceship interns presented final deliverables to the #YorkNE host team. We're excited to see the long-term impacts!” - @rural_futures | August 9, 2017
“Emily & Shelby developed a database tracking implantation of #LB840 for #YorkNE & communities across #Nebraska. #NUforNE” - @rural_futures | August 10, 2017

York Serviceship in the News

York News Times | June 13, 2017

Omaha World-Herald | June 13, 2017

Thank you to the York host team!

Madonna Mogul, Administrative Assistant, York Area Chamber of Commerce

Rhonda Veleba, York Area Chamber of Commerce

Lisa Hurley, Executive Director, Executive Managers, YCDC

Megan Burda, 4-H Youth Development, Extension Educator, Unit Leader, University of Nebraska–Lincoln Extension

Pat Hanrahan, Engineer, Nebraska Public Power District

Amy Kadavy, Eye Doctor, Eyecare Associates

Kelly Kadavy, Assistant Manager, Cornerstone Insurance

Jill Koch, Host Team Member

Amie Kopcho, Owner/Manager, Community Title Company

Tony North, Owner, York Printing Co.

Don Swanson, Chief Financial Officer, CVA

 

North Platte | Career Readiness & Workforce Retention

 

North Platte, Neb. | Career Readiness & Workforce Retention

University of Nebraska-Lincoln students Sydni Lienemann and Trey Mogensen were based in North Platte this summer. Their project was designed to result in a career readiness and workforce retention plan for the city’s current and upcoming workforce. Working closely with North Platte Public Schools (NPPS), Trey and Sydney spent the first half of their serviceships conducting survey research and interviewing community leaders in education and career development.

Among those leaders are NPPS Curriculum Director Vikki Carlson, NPPS superintendent Dr. Ron Hanson and Serviceship host Leland Poppe. All were instrumental in identifying ways to ensure that entrepreneurship and vocational opportunities are integral parts of public education for North Platte high school students.

The second piece of their serviceship involved conveying their findings to education professionals in order to create and develop tools able to be used by both teachers and students.

Aside from their intensive career readiness and workforce retention project, Sydni and Trey became heavily involved with the local Rotary chapter, NebraskaLand Days, the NE150 traveling Children’s Museum and the local Young Professionals group. They were also able to work with a few local businesses on small projects, as well as assist the city in some marketing campaigns.

 

“Summer Interns Sydni & Trey kick off #Workforce Recruitment/Readiness project to the Chamber/DEVCO Board #GrowNP #workNP #RFIServiceship” - @NPChamber | June 16

Sydni provides a brief introduction to the team's progress report with North Platte Public Schools Curriculum Director Vikki Carlson.
Sydni listens while Trey shares a few of the team's thoughts on career readiness and entrepreneurship programs for high school students. 
“Team #NorthPlatte is making big strides for career readiness this week with the help of @nppsd admin & community leaders! #RFIServiceship” - @rural_futures | June 20, 2017
“Team #NorthPlatte is making big strides for career readiness this week with the help of @nppsd admin & community leaders! #RFIServiceship” - @rural_futures | June 20, 2017
Leland Poppe meets Sydni and Trey at Sip Coffee and Wine Bar for smoothies and a quick afternoon strategy session.

#RFIServiceship interns Trey & Sydni had a great time learning about aviation with @trego_dugan on Wednesday! - @rural_futures | June 23, 2017

#RFIServiceship interns Trey & Sydni had a great time learning about aviation with @trego_dugan on Wednesday! ” - @rural_futures | June 23, 2017
#NorthPlatteNE #RFIServiceship presented the results of their career education & retention study today! Well done, Sydni & Trey! ” - @rural_futures | August 2, 2017
“Thanks to #NorthPlatteNE for hosting Trey and Sydni as part of #RFIServiceship - your amazing host team made the experience!” - @kschnuelle | August 4, 2017

“Trey & Sydni spent summer building relationships & IDing ways to reveal opportunity, entrepreneurship to @nppsd students. #RFIServiceship” - @rural_futures | August 10, 2017

North Platte Serviceship in the News:

Omaha World-Herald | June 13, 2017

The North Platte Telegraph | June 28, 2017

Thank you to the North Platte host team!

Megan McGown, Vice President of Economic Development & Director of Communications Marketing, Commerce & Development Corporation

Vikki Carlson, Principal, Adams Middle School

James Ayres, Principal, North Platte Public Schools

Dr. Ron Hanson, Superintendent, North Platte Public Schools

Margo Hirschfeld, Host Team Member

Fiona Libsack, Vice President of Marketing & Education, Great Plains Health

Leland Poppe, Business Banker, Great Western Bank

 

West Point | Marketing Parks & Recreation

 

West Point, Neb. | Marketing Parks & Recreation

UNL student Amber Ross and UNL grad Madeleine Schwinghammer spent their summer working with the Parks and Recreation Department in West Point, Nebraska. Their main roles entailed conducting research to determine the gaps and needs for West Point parks, as well as marketing the plans they helped develop to the community.

The first thing the pair did was create a two-part survey. First, their survey identified preferences of each generation living in the community. Second, it asked community members to prioritize their preferences. This suggested to city officials the amount of urgency required behind each potential project. Amber and Madeleine also researched the cost of funding the requested projects.

A couple of the projects the team researched and presented about included updates for the community’s pool, city parks and public restrooms. Amber and Madeleine also conducted a needs assessment for citywide parks and recreation for the West Point Chamber of Commerce, which they presented to their host team at the end of their serviceship.

In addition to community marketing and parks and rec needs evaluation, Amber and Madeleine spent dozens of hours volunteering, planning community events, designing a leadership class and even assisting with the town’s plan to combat the Emerald Ash Borer. Program director Kayla Schnuelle called the 2017 West Point Serviceship project a great example of interns using University of Nebraska connections and resources to problem solve in a host community.

 

@chriskrack thanks for hosting the @rural_futures Serviceship interns this summer! Looks like they are having a great experience already!” - @kschnuelle | June 5, 2017

Last week the #WestPoint team spent a morning helping with the #BRAN Snack Shop hosted by the Trails and Pathways Group! #RFIServiceship” - @rural_futures | June 13, 2017

During the first half of their serviceship, Amber and Madeleine were interviewed by 840 KTIC Radio about their work with city Parks and Rec. 

#WestPointNE #RFIServiceship interns Amber & Madeleine checked in from the Elkhorn River where they spent time w/ the Cuming County YPs! ” - @rural_futures | June 30, 2017

#RFIServiceship interns in #WestPointNE are putting the finishing touches on their Parks & Rec assessment this week!” - @rural_futures | July 6, 2017

“The #WestPoint team is attending the Northeast Nebraska Economic Development Annual Meeting today! #RFIServiceship” - @aross397 | July 11, 2017
Madeleine and Amber working intently in their office space located within the West Point Chamber of Commerce.

#WestPointNE #RFIServiceship interns Madeleine & Amber attended a chamber coffee and ribbon cutting ceremony this morning!” - @rural_futures | July 14, 2017

During a coffee and ribbon-cutting event, Madeleine and Amber mingle with Bonny Emanuel, Assistant Administrator to the West Point Chamber.

Sights and Sounds in West Point was a hit last night! Thanks to all the sponsors and performers! #WestPoint” - @aross397 | August 8, 2017

Madeleine & Amber delivered a research-based Parks & Recreation assessment to #WestPointNE, developed #branding based on #community values” - @rural_futures | August 10, 2017

West Point Serviceship in the News

KTIC Radio | June 7, 2017

West Point News | June 8, 2017

107.9 the Bull | July 28, 2017

KTIC Radio | August 8, 2017

KTIC Radio | August 8, 2017

Thank you to the West Point host team!

Tina Biteghe Bi Ndong, Director, West Point Chamber of Commerce

Chris Kreikemeier, Manager, Nielsen Community Center

Jen Barragan, Charter West Bank

Jeremy Borchers, Knights of Columbus

Kelly Gentrup, Executive Director, Cuming County Economic Development

Alex Norton, Administrator, Coming County Roads & Zoning Department

Dave Wimmer, Chairman, Park Board Member (Retired)

 

McCook | THETA Camp

 

McCook, Neb. | THETA Camp

University of Nebraska at Kearney exercise science majors Tyan Boyer and Collin Fleecs spent their summer running THETA Camp––which stands for “Teaching Health, Exercise, Technology and Aquaponics.”

THETA Camp was designed to educate elementary and middle school students about the importance of health and wellness as well as sustainable agriculture. The camp also explored technology and gave students a better idea of nutrition and health-related career fields. THETA Camp was developed as a part of an RFI Competitive Award grant exploring rural obesity and health awareness. The camp’s curriculum was co-written by UNK Professors Greg Brown and Nate Bickford.

Throughout THETA Camp, Tyan and Collin conducted surveys to ensure their students were retaining the information they learned each morning. Ultimately, they say, the goal was to provide each child with information he or she could use to make smart, nutritional decisions for years to come.

Tyan and Collin led THETA Camp each morning from 8 a.m. until noon and spent the remainder of their day working on community development projects or job shadowing at McCook Community Hospital. Throughout the pair’s weekly eight-hour job shadows at McCook Community Hospital, Tyan and Collin were able to learn more about their own future careers in the health field, as well as meet with several members of the McCook community to discuss the success of THETA Camp.

 

Collin engages with the THETA Camp McCook students during an ice-breaker conversation activity in the classroom. 
THETA Camp McCook might be an educational experience, but Tyan and the students are rarely short of laughs.

“Collin and Tyan on 96.1 KICX with Rich Barnett! #RFIServiceship” -  @THETA_McCook  | June 7, 2017

Collin and Tyan lead their THETA Camp McCook students in an outdoor running exercise to get the blood pumping before a couple hours of classroom instruction on June check-in day. 
.@rural_futures Great first week of camp! Kids are wonderful to work with and have a passion for learning! #RFIServiceship” - @THETA_Mccook | June 22, 2017
.@rural_futures Great first week of camp! Kids are wonderful to work with and have a passion for learning! #RFIServiceship” - @THETA_Mccook | June 22, 2017
" interns Collin & Tyan discuss the importance of social health at " - @rural_futures | June 20, 2017</em
On July 13, 2017, RFI Leadership Engagement Director Kayla Schnuelle checked in with Tyan and Collin and a few of their THETA students. She was accompanied by Greg Brown, a UNK faculty member, principal investigator and curriculum co-writer, for the THETA Camp McCook research project.
UNK Professor and THETA Camp Curriculum co-writer Greg Brown chats with THETA Camp McCook about the future of the camp.
When Collin and Tyan aren't leading THETA Camp or participating in other community engagement activities, they were often exploring their own future careers in the field of health, exercise and nutrition at McCook Community Hospital. 
During a fun lunch time intermission on final presentation day, Collin nominated Tyan for the prestigious "Most Likely to be Called Collin by a 10-year-old" Award.

“Collin & Tyan discuss successes & takeaways for elementary students learning #health, #exercise, #tech, #aquaponics at Camp @THETA_McCook” - @rural_futures | August 10, 2017

McCook Serviceship in the News

McCook Gazette | June 7, 2017

UNK News | June 7, 2017

Omaha World-Herald | June 13, 2017

McCook Gazette | June 13, 2017

NTV News | July 12, 2017

Thank you to the McCook host team!

Andrew Ambriz, Director, McCook Economic Development

Sarah Wolford, Community Outreach & Wellness Coordinator, McCook Community Hospital

Matt Sehnert, Owner, Sehnert’s Bakery

Denise Grey, Southwest Nebraska Public Health Department

Ronda Graff, Coordinator, McCook Community Foundation

 

Shrinking The Rural Leadership Gap

102816_CYN295

 

From Kayla Schnuelle, Leadership Engagement Director & Network Weaver

 

What happens when the leaders in your community retire, move or step down? Is there a leadership succession plan happening in your community? Is the next generation of leaders being mentored?

Leadership is important and even critical for long-term success and vitality of rural communities. In my experience, leadership tends to be the major factor that distinguishes thriving rural places from those that are lagging behind.

Kayla-graph

As we look deeper, it becomes apparent that the transfer of leadership from one generation to the next may be another important factor and could serve as a powerful tool for communities.

The rural leadership gap is real and is amplified because of outmigration of the millennials. According to a research published in the Cornhusker Economics, some young adults, especially young families, are looking to relocate from metro areas to nonmetro areas. They want to live in family-friendly communities to raise their children. They also need a way to support themselves, so employment opportunities are critical.

In most rural communities, the majority of leadership positions — elected service and volunteer — are held by the oldest two generations in the communities. The 2012 Nebraska Rural Poll showed that of young Nebraskans (under the age of 36) that took the poll, only 8 percent held elected offices and less than one-third held formal leadership roles. This is not a new phenomenon. It has happened for decades, but the unique part of this trend is that the lack of leadership transfer is now coupled with the huge transfer of wealth occurrence.

The Nebraska Community Foundation researched the transfer of wealth in Nebraska, predicting that during the next 50 years, more than $602 billion will be transferred from one generation to the next. This will be the largest intergenerational transfer of wealth in our state’s history.

102816_CYN153

The World War II and Baby Boomer generation own more private wealth than any other generations, with more than $600 billion in wealth. This wealth may be held in real estate, securities, retirement accounts and other assets. Some will go to taxes while most will go to heirs. Due to outmigration, many of those heirs no longer live where the wealth was built and may no longer feel connected to those places. Once wealth leaves these communities, the opportunity for give-back becomes more and more unlikely. (The Nebraska Community Foundation, 2011 Transfer of Wealth Study Summary Report, 2012.)

So, what happens when the transfer of wealth is accompanied by a gap in the transfer of leadership? People will retire and pass on their wealth and leadership positions, but what happens when the next wave of leaders are unprepared and/or nonexistent?

According to the 2015 American Community Survey, in Nebraska’s 86 most rural counties, there is a population dip between ages 20-49 (Figure 1). It is significant in most instances. Many people are not surprised by this. However, when you think about the dip in population, the transfer of wealth and the transfer of leadership brings a significant challenge.

What is the solution? There are no specific answers, but I believe that rural leadership needs to start and continue a culture of ‘giving back to the community.’ This happens with service, financial gifting and becoming a community leader. Current rural leadership also needs to mentor, teach and ask the next generations to participate and lead efforts in rural places.

 

“A true rural leader invites other people of diversity to the table and steps back, guides and supports in an act of service to their community.” – Kayla Schnuelle

 

If you do empower others to serve and guide with a gentle hand, then the opportunities for your community are generative and endless. The young leaders that you mentor are the best attraction and retention for the next wave of rural leaders.

Support your community by supporting a culture of giving, and make intentional plans to transfer leadership by extending personal invites and embracing new thoughts, ideas and people. Slowly but surely, we will see the rural leadership gap diminish.

 


 

Kayla Schnuelle

Kayla Schnuelle

Leadership Engagement Director & Network Weaver | Rural Futures Institute
@kschnuelle

Kayla Schnuelle directs the RFI Student Serviceship program, coordinates the state-wide network of young professionals, Connecting Young Nebraskans, and offers her expertise in facilitation and leadership throughout many of RFI’s initiatives.

She has developed a deep understanding of the opportunities and trials that young professionals are finding in rural places. With an immense support network in place, Kayla has coordinated three statewide summits and has assisted in planning two national Rural Futures Institute Conferences.

 


 

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CYN Blog | Abigail Frank | Neligh, Neb.

CYN steering team member Abigail Frank from Neligh, Nebraska, is on the blog! In her vlog she shares about her background, the importance of CYN, the resource that has inspired her research and more! Watch to the end and be sure to share what helps you create positive energy at work.

 

 


 

Abigail Frank

Abigail Frank

Full-Time M.A. Graduate Student
Join me on LinkedIn

Abigail Frank is a full-time graduate student at the University of South Dakota working toward her masters in science, majoring in administration with an emphasis in organizational leadership. She previously served in economic development for the City of Creighton, Neb. Abigail lives in Neligh, Neb., with her husband and four fur-babies.

She has developed a deep understanding of the opportunities and trials that young professionals are finding in rural places. With an immense support network in place, Kayla has coordinated three statewide summits and has assisted in planning two national Rural Futures Institute Conferences.

 


 

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Growing Our State Through People Attraction, Retention & Development

“…business development in Nebraska is directly tied to the development
and growth of available ‘talent.’”

 

As the “talent attraction coordinator” for Nebraska’s Department of Economic Development (DED), my business is growing Nebraska. My team is dedicated to attracting, retaining and developing the people of Nebraska to match the growing job opportunities here.

  • Attract — Coordinate an extensive communications and outreach effort that promotes Nebraska as welcoming and attracts a diverse group of talented individuals to the state to live and work.
  • Retain — Develop programs and foster an environment that results in individuals remaining in the state.
  • Develop — Serve as a catalyst for advancing ideas, partnerships and actions that create and enhance pathways to career opportunities for Nebraska residents.

 

The Context

For many years, DED heard from businesses looking for help finding more people, or “talent.” In 2016, my team and I at DED surveyed 263 primary sector businesses (i.e. businesses that import capital into the community from outside the region) during company conversations and visits. Results showed that nearly 50% of these businesses experienced increasing employment needs and 80% reported experiencing recruitment problems.

Nebraska has the fourth lowest unemployment rate (2.8% in May 2017) and the fourth highest labor participation rate (69.5% in May 2017) in the nation. With few unemployed people seeking work and a limited pool of residents to add to the labor force, it is critical that Nebraska be proactive in both retaining the current workforce and attracting new people to the state to fill the growing opportunities here.

According to the US Census Bureau, Nebraska’s migration trends show that there was a net loss of 2,551 persons in state-to-state migration in 2014. Nebraskan’s aged 25 years and older with a Bachelor’s Degree or more education—key population from which high-skilled workers are often hired—left the state at an average rate of 11,861 per year over the 5-year period between 2011 and 2015, resulting in an outmigration of -6.5 per 1,000 people and ranking Nebraska 9th worst nationally. Migration trends coupled with Nebraska’s aging population has made this outmigration even more pronounced in rural areas. In 71 of Nebraska’s 93 counties, particularly in less densely populated Western Nebraska, there is a median age of 40 or older according to the US Census Bureau. People exiting the workforce for retirement in the coming years will exacerbate this already pressing issue.

Median Age 40 or Older in 71 of 93 counties
MedianAgeByCounty

Additionally, according to the Nebraska Department of Labor, there were 64,128 job openings advertised on its NEworks website in May 2017. This amounts to more than two job ads for every unemployed person in Nebraska. Conversely, industry projections predict growth in employment in 18 of the 20 industry sectors through 2022, with a total statewide growth of 9.54% between 2012 and 2022. Industry growth is undoubtedly already hindered by Nebraska’s tight labor market.

 

What This Means

All of this points to the fact that business development in Nebraska is directly tied to the development and growth of available “talent.” We have worked closely with the business community to identify the skills gaps and developed partnerships with the Department of Labor, Department of Education and other training providers to build talent pipelines. We strive to ensure our youth have experiences that will help them make thoughtful and well-informed career and education decisions. Over the last couple of years, DED has adjusted its strategy to intentionally include the attraction and retention of people as well.

I was hired about 18 months ago to research talent trends, develop a talent attraction and retention strategy and implement talent-focused initiatives. This research and many conversations with people and businesses across Nebraska has led me to believe that we will be most successful in recruiting young people (e.g. millennials) who have previously lived in Nebraska back to Nebraska. Some of us in this field like to call these individuals “boomerangs.”

Results from a 2010 Gallup survey of individuals who had previously lived in Nebraska revealed that people under 30 years old are more likely to return to Nebraska. Specifically, 45% of survey participants under 30 years old said there was at least a 50% chance they would someday return to Nebraska, in comparison to only 23% of overall participants who reported at least a 50% chance of returning to Nebraska.

DED recently collaborated with the University of Nebraska–Lincoln to update some of Gallup’s previous findings through a survey of University of Nebraska–Lincoln alumni who currently live outside of the state. In this survey, 87.9% of millennials (respondents born after 1980) responded “Yes” or “Maybe” when asked if they would return to Nebraska if the opportunity presented itself, compared to a slightly lower percentage, 83.9%, of overall participants. If they responded “Yes” or “Maybe” we followed up by asking how likely they were to return to Nebraska; 37.2% of millennials responded they were either “Very likely” or “Somewhat likely” to return compared to 34.6% of all participants.

Millennials:
Would you Return
to Nebraska?

Millennials:
How likely are you
to return to Nebraska?

AllisonHatch_PieCharts AllisonHatch_PieCharts2

 

DED Talent-Focused Initiatives

DED is in the process of implementing several talent-focused initiatives. According to the Development counselors international 10 Top Tips in Talent Attraction publication, one of the primary elements of any successful talent attraction and development strategy is to have a well-organized, visually compelling, informative web presence. My team is currently working closely with a website developer to create a one-stop-shop website that will promote Nebraska as a great place to live, work and play. The website is expected to launch this November and will feature job opportunities, culture and quality of life aspects, training opportunities and community engagement opportunities. Potential new residents will be drawn in by personal stories of people who love living in Nebraska and have the opportunity to connect directly with passionate Nebraskans eager to help them learn more about the state.

DED and a group of talent-focused economic development and chambers of commerce professionals are working collaboratively to create this network of passionate Nebraskans who will connect with potential new residents. When someone from outside of Nebraska shares that they are interested in learning more about living and working here, a volunteer from the network we are building will reach out to them directly to address their questions. The network, which will undoubtedly include many young professionals across the state, will also be asked to share the good news about Nebraska with their family and friends. I know that Nebraska’s current residents and employees are one of our most valuable resources as well as our state’s best recruiters. I hope that engaging Nebraskans in this effort to promote our state will also help strengthen their own desire to stay here.

My team and I will continue to work diligently on these projects, and many others still in the formation stages, to grow the state through attracting, retaining and developing great people. I know that I will reach out to you all for support and inspiration as well. Connecting Young Nebraskans was established to connect, empower and retain young leaders in the rural areas of Nebraska, making you an essential partner in DED’s mission to grow the state. I am thrilled about the possibilities of how we can achieve these goals together.

 


 

Allison Hatch

Allison Hatch

Talent Attraction Coordinator | Nebraska Department of Economic Development
Join Allison on LinkedIn

Allison Hatch oversees a state strategy for attracting qualified talent for growing job opportunities. She is involved with coordinating an extensive communications and outreach effort that promotes Nebraska as welcoming and attracts a diverse group of talented individuals to the state to live and work; developing programs and fostering an environment that results in individuals remaining in the state; and serving as a catalyst for advancing ideas, partnerships and actions that create greater pathways to career opportunities for Nebraska’s current and future workforce.

 


 

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Culture & Entertainment For Young Nebraskans

Don't do things for image — Do things to make a difference.

 

Q&A with Selena Aguilar, Nebraska State Fair Entertainment Assistant and CYN Steering Team Member

 

Why are culture and entertainment important for young Nebraskans?

It is so important for young people in general to feel like they have a purpose and that they are a part of something. I think this becomes especially important as we look to recruit and retain young Nebraskans to our rural communities—we need these people to feel connected to their community and entertainment and culture are a great way to do that. They bridge gaps and prevent people from feeling like they are missing out on something out there. Entertainment brings people together in a positive way.

 

Why are you passionate about each one (culture and entertainment)?

I come from a mixed background and have seen a lot of cultures blended together. I think that all unique cultures should be celebrated, because it is part of what gives a person fulfillment. We, as people, pull influence for all different cultures in our daily lives.

Entertainment has always held a special place in my life. I’ve had a passion for music and theater since I was in grade school. There are so many embarrassing videos of me “performing.”

The sole purpose of my job is to make people happy—to make sure attendees enjoy their time. No matter how crazy it gets, it is pretty amazing to think about bringing people of all different backgrounds together, and everyone enjoying themselves.

 

How do you think culture and entertainment can be created and sustained for young Nebraskans?

I’d like to think I’m part of that effort at the state level with my role at the fair, but it really only does take one person in a community to make a difference. Through CYN we are working hard to build the types of leaders who will step up in their community. No matter what your goal is, there are plenty of people out there who are just as passionate as you but need the right connector. It may be as easy as stepping out of your comfort zone and stepping up to make it happen.

Hear Nebraska is a great example of this. Speaking close to home, Hear Grand Island (a branch of Hear Nebraska) is a weekly local concert series in our downtown area during the summer. It has provided a way to bring not only community but businesses together as well.

Festivals are a great way to create an environment of culture and entertainment as well, but I’d suggest more long-term plans for sustainability—something people can get involved with regularly, not one weekend or even day a year. A good rule of thumb is to keep intentions true—don’t do things for image, do them to make a difference.

 

How does diversity tie into culture and entertainment?

To summarize, diversity is an influencer of culture, and culture is an influencer of entertainment. Without different belief systems, rituals and traditions, there would be no culture. Entertainment of all kinds is a powerful form of expression. It pulls influence from our beliefs, traditions and feelings.

 

Why are you passionate about diversity?

Diversity should be celebrated! I would love to never stop learning. Diversity is the perfect opportunity to learn. Accept when others differ from you, learn about them and celebrate what makes you an individual. Life would be pretty boring if we just did the same old thing all time. I believe in immersing yourself in other people’s worlds, not to make them your own, but to celebrate individuality.

 

How can Nebraska celebrate diversity?

In order to celebrate diversity anywhere, not just Nebraska, there needs be a true, honest focus on a long-term sustainability. There’s too much focus on celebration by separation—celebrating a culture within a day for example. While some do not see it as a problem, here is my perspective: It can feel like you’re being told: “Here is your day. You get this day, and this day only, and then the rest of the year you sit back and be quiet about it.” Celebrations of diversity shouldn’t be confined or restrained.

 

How have your passions for culture, entertainment and diversity impacted your professional career?

My passions for culture, entertainment and diversity have 100 percent influenced my professional career. I’ve always wanted to do something for a living that makes me happy but it also had to be realistic. As happy as singing on stage every day of my life would make me, it isn’t exactly a reliable path to follow. I tried a lot of different things before I found the niche of event planning. In pursuing event planning, my passion for entertainment actually pulled me into my current opportunity. Now I’m able to help create a huge, 11-day experience in culture, diversity and entertainment. I don’t think anything that didn’t offer me the same opportunity to intersect all of these important aspects to me would hold my passion.

 


 

Selena Aguilar

Selena Aguilar

Entertainment Assistant | Nebraska State Fair
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Selena Aguilar is originally from Grand Island, Neb., where she returned after graduating from the University of Nebraska–Lincoln College of Journalism and Mass Communications in December 2016. Selena works as an entertainment assistant for the Nebraska State Fair, and serves as a member of the CYN Steering Team. She is passionate about fostering diversity and contributing to her community.

 


 

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What Meal Planning Can Do For You — And Nebraska

By Bradley Averill, Nebraska Extension Educator and CYN Steering Team Member

 

Nebraska Extension helps Nebraskans enhance their lives through research-based education. Food, Nutrition and Health include one of Nebraska Extension’s focus areas for educational programming. Delivering research and evidence based programming can have a significant impact on the health and well being for the people of Nebraska.

As an Extension Educator for Food, Nutrition and Health, my job is to increase the nutritional and physical literacy of Nebraskans. Using formal elements from my education—B.S. in Physical Education from Grand Valley State University and M.A. in Physical Education from the University of South Florida—and research from the University of Nebraska, it is my job to provide the most up-to-date information on how exercise and improved nutrition can improve the quality of your life.

Nebraska’s current obesity rate sits at 31%—14th highest obesity rate in the United States. As the chart below outlines, Millennials represent a lower obesity rate than other age groups.

Trust for America's Health and Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. The State of Obesity 2016 [PDF]. Washington D.C. 2016.

 

Before arranging a victory parade for having lower obesity rates than the other age groups, you might want to take another look at the chart to see your future. Obesity rates double between the ages of 26-44. There are many factors that could contribute to an increase in obesity as we age. Improved meal planning practices can have an significant impact on obesity rates, regardless of your age.

 

“If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail.”
– Benjamin Franklin

 

Properly planned meal preparation can help both your waistline and your budget. Meal preparation means:

  • Food inventory
  • Recipe research
  • Grocery shopping
  • Cooking
  • Meal portioning
  • Storage

Most families do the cooking, portioning and storage on a daily basis, but with proper planning most of the cooking that you do all week long can be done in one day. Saving money, saving time, portion control and attaining fitness goals can all be achieved by preparing meals ahead of time.

By preparing your meals in advance, you are less likely to spend money outside of the home. Fewer trips to fast food locations or convenience stores can save you hundreds of dollars each year. A carefully thought out grocery list also keeps you from purchasing impulse foods that are not healthy or cost effective. Only purchasing food you need for the week will also save you from food waste.

 


 

  1. https://www.cnpp.usda.gov/sites/default/files/usda_food_plans_cost_of_food/CostofFoodJul2014.pdf
  2. Bloom, American Wasteland, 187. The author reports a 15 percent loss in homes, with potentially an additional 10 percent loss in liquid products.

 


 

Not only does meal preparation save you money, but cooking your meals for the entire week in one day is a time saver. Two or three hours spent cooking and preparing on a Sunday, can alleviate the need to cook a meal the rest of the week. With this meal preparation plan, fixing nightly meals will only require you to reheat meals that have already been cooked. This allows more time to spend with your family, hit the gym or just relax instead of rushing home from work to prepare a meal during the week.

When you plan out and prepare your meals ahead of time, you take control of how much food you are consuming during each meal. It is important to remember that each of our bodies require different amounts of food and nutrients. For this reason, make sure that your portions are rationed properly for each member of your family. To find out how many calories you should be consuming every day, consult your physician.

Proper nutrition is just as important to a healthy lifestyle as exercise. There is an old saying that states, “abs are made in the kitchen.” There is a lot of truth to this phrase. Your body requires healthy food for endurance, strength and weight loss. With your meals properly planned and portioned, it is easier to include foods that give you energy (whole grains), muscle building proteins (lean meats and nuts) and vitamins and minerals (fruits and vegetables).

To prevent food waste and to test the feasibility of weekly food planning for your family, it may be best to cook twice per week instead of once per week initially. This will help with the identification of proper food storage needs, as well as the nutritional needs of your family.

I would love to hear how your family prepares meals. Do you go grocery shopping once per month or once per week? Do you prepare each meal individually every day? Share your meal preparation ideas with your fellow CYNers on Facebook or Twitter.

 


 

Bradley Averill

Bradley Averill

Food, Nutrition, and Health Educator | Nebraska Extension

Bradley Averill is the University of Nebraska Extension Educator for Food, Nutrition, and Health. He grew up in Holt, Michigan, and currently resides in Neligh, Neb. He pursued his undergraduate degree at Grand Valley State University and attended graduate school at the University of South Florida. He believes that Connecting Young Nebraskans (CYN) can bring together young talents from all across the state and allow young professionals to network with peers of different backgrounds.

 


 

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