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

 

3 Ps of Successful Community & Economic Development: Purpose, Perseverance & Positivity

Megan_Feature

By Megan McGown, North Platte Area Chamber & Development Corp. VP of Economic Development & Marketing
I have served in the realm of economic and community development in our fine state for most of my adult life. While it has been my paid gig these past 10 years, I have come to realize that it takes everyone in the community to be successful—not just those of us who serve in paid positions. It takes people from all walks of life, every age demographic, varying ethnicities, men, women and children. Sound cliché? Maybe, but imagine everyone in your community being on the same page, promoting the same great things about your town. Young people hearing about those great things and picturing themselves living in and raising their family in their hometown – your town. That’s a cliché I can live with any day of the week.

I spent most of my economic development career working in Sidney for both the Chamber of Commerce as well as a position with the city. Two years ago, my family and I relocated, and I currently serve as the Vice President of Economic Development and Marketing for the North Platte Chamber & Development Corporation.

I grew up in a very rural area – aka: the middle of the Sandhills – and currently reside in the Village of Brady, population 432. In spite of the varying differences amongst the places that I have lived, I have noticed recurring themes among the most successful community and economic development programs: Purposefulness, Perseverance and Positivity.

Purpose

This one should go without saying, but I’m going to talk about it anyway, because not all development is good development, and not every project will fit in every community. Purpose requires extensive research, knowing your community and keeping up-to-date on trends.

• Look at the strengths of your community in terms of location, demographics, infrastructure, workforce characteristics and training programs.
• Identify cluster and supply chain opportunities.
• Talk with residents and stakeholders about their vision, needs and wants (but be careful with that last one).

Being able to see the big picture is crucial. Do the ideas on the list make sense for your community? Are they feasible? What would it take to make them feasible? Are your local incentive programs aligned with your goals? Being purposeful may not save time, but it has a much higher chance of producing a successful outcome.

Perseverance

There is a lot of trial and error in community and economic development. Not everything is going to work the first time. The fact is that economic developers work just as hard on the projects that never materialize as they do the ones that become successful. We go all-in on each RFP that the state sends us (provided it meets the Purposeful test). You never know when you will hit a home run. The ability to persevere in your efforts and adapt to new circumstances will set successful communities and programs apart.

Positivity

We all know there is power in positive thinking, but I’m sure you’re thinking: “What does that have to do with economic development?” Positivity and negativity are both contagious—which would you rather catch?

In my college dorm room, my roommate and I made our own wallpaper border that repeated the phrase, “the power of positive thinking,” over and over all around the room. The phrase was a daily reminder to look on the bright side, find the silver lining—you name the cliché. But it helped.

This same mentality carries into the realm of economic and community development. Negativity kills projects before they start. Whether that is the “coffee shop talk,” a negative political climate or some other form of negativity, it can derail various aspects of the process.

Now, I could definitely add more Ps to my list: partnerships, planning, passion, patience, etc. But I have to leave something for my next post!

 


 

How do you or can you implement today’s three Ps in the community and economic development of your town?

How have you gotten involved in your community’s development efforts?

 


 

Megan McGown

Megan McGown

VP of Economic Development & Marketing | North Platte Area Chamber & Development Corp.
Join Megan on LinkedIn
and Twitter

Megan has been in the field of economic development for more than 10 years. She holds a Master’s Degree in Organization Management emphasizing economic development and entrepreneurship. She currently serves as the Vice President of Economic Development and Marketing for the North Platte Area Chamber and Development Corporation.

In addition to economic development, Megan has a passion for downtown revitalization and served as the director of a local Main Street Program for 10 years, earning the community national accreditation the majority of those years. She is a mom of two daughters, wife to a school superintendent and avid runner/wellness nut.

 


 

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