Nebraska Developing Youth Talent Initiative

Gov. Ricketts Announces 2016 Application Process for the Nebraska Developing Youth Talent Initiative

DED will accept applications until April 8th

LINCOLN – Today, Governor Pete Ricketts announced that the Nebraska Department of Economic Development (DED) is accepting applications for the next round of Nebraska Developing Youth Talent Initiative (DYTI) grants, a program that introduces young Nebraskans to potential careers in the manufacturing and technology sectors.  DYTI was proposed by the Governor as a part of his budget a year ago in January and approved by the Legislature in early 2015.

“The Developing Youth Talent Initiative is connecting our young people with potential career options in the manufacturing and information technology fields,” said Governor Ricketts.  “Expanding educational opportunities and creating more and better paying jobs are two of my administration’s top priorities.  Working together, we will continue to open new horizons for young Nebraskans looking for a career track with good-paying jobs.”

Over 60 percent of high school students indicate that the greatest influence on their future careers is their own experiences and interests.  Research by the National Association of Manufacturers shows more than 50 percent of students believe that career and technical education offerings improved their grade point averages, and consequently those who are engaged in Career and Technical Student Organizations (CTSO) and activities are nearly 50 percent more like to pursue a technical career.

“Nebraska must continue to offer our students more opportunities to experience manufacturing and IT and develop a familiarity with the industries,” said DED Director Courtney Dentlinger. “ The Developing Youth Talent Initiative is one way we are engaging more companies in school career and technical education programs.”


About the Developing Youth Talent Initiative

Through this initiative, DED is providing financial assistance of up to $125,000 each to two eligible businesses in the 2015-16 and 2016-17 school years.  Businesses that qualify for DYTI are those in the manufacturing sector or businesses in need of high-skill information technology (IT) professionals.  At least one business selected for a grant must be in a county with a population less than 100,000.  Grants through DYTI are provided to private sector for-profit entities.  An internal DED committee makes recommendations to the Governor for final approval.

DYTI grant recipients partner with schools to engage students to participate in hands-on career exploration and relevant workplace learning opportunities.  The programs reach students beginning in the seventh and eighth grades and demonstrate sustainability and measurable impact.  Interest and participation in the program by students may be initial metrics, but measures may also include tracking of course-taking patterns through high school, possible work experiences provided by businesses after initial exposure, and tracking of post-secondary plans.

In 2015, the Governor proposed the initiative to respond to rapid innovations in the manufacturing and information technology sectors.  Next generation workers in these industries are requiring advanced skill sets and knowledge to help companies compete in the global economy.  This innovative initiative is starting to help develop a youth talent pipeline to meet such workforce demands.
In 2015, two Nebraska businesses received grants: Hollman Media, LLC in Kearney and Flowserve Corporation in Hastings.

How to Apply for DYTI Grants this Year

To apply for the grant, businesses should visit:

Applications are due electronically by 5:00pm, April 8, 2016 to

Businesses with questions should contact Linda Black or 308-991-2986.

Shoestring Evaluation Webinar

Shoestring Evaluation Webinar: New Hampshire’s Experience Measuring CRED Impacts with Limited Resources

February 2nd | 2:00 p.m. Central

Many Extension organizations struggle to capture the impacts of CRED-related work Reasons include lack of a formal CRED program to which impacts can be aggregated disperse programming within CRED, lack of staff capacity to conduct evaluation, and lack of evaluation expertise to draws from (e.g. Evaluation Specialist). This session will highlight how a small CRED program in New Hampshire has been able to develop its evaluation capacity over time in spite of the challenges listed above.

To learn more about the National CRD Impact Initiative:

Webinar link:

Rural Futures Institute’s Schroeder speaks to Cozad Rotary Club

Lyle Davis, president of the Cozad Rotary Club, left, talks to Executive Director of the Rural Futures Institute Chuck Schroeder, right after a talk Schroeder gave on Tuesday. Schroeder is an innovator in promoting and challenging rural communities to address their pressing issues. Photo by Kevin Zelaya.

Posted: Sunday, January 17, 2016 8:00 am

Kevin Zelaya, Lexington Clipper-Herald

COZAD, Neb. – Founding executive director of the Rural Futures Institute Chuck Schroeder was the guest speaker at the Cozad Rotary Club’s noon meeting on Tuesday.

The Cozad Rotary Club met at the Cozad Grand Generation Center. Lyle Davis, the president of the Rotary Club, said each member is charged with providing a presentation on a rotating basis. Rotary Club Member John Grinde, who introduced Schroeder, said he was thankful for the help of Cozad Community Schools Superintendent Joel Applegate who invited Schroeder.

Grinde described Schroeder as a native of Palisade, a 30-year farmer/rancher who was also a cattle roper.

“I’m in Cozad on purpose. I have a love for DawsonCounty, for the dedication you have demonstrated for your community,” Schroeder said.

Schroeder has a long track record in various parts of agriculture. He has served as the CEO of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association and also served as president of the National Cowboy and WesternHeritageMuseum in Oklahoma City, Okla.

After serving as the director of the Nebraska Department of Agriculture and within the University of Nebraska Foundation, Schroeder became motivated to affect change at the local level among rural communities in Nebraska.

Years of planning and collaboration between himself, former NU President J.B Millican and vice chancellor for the Institute Agriculture and Natural Resources laid the foundation for what would become the Rural Futures Institute, a university-wide initiation within NU. The RFI was launched in the fall of 2012 after gaining approval from the University of Nebraska Board of Regents.

The RFI’s mission was to be a world-pioneer in helping rural communities tackle their challenges, he said.

Schroeder talked about a recent research study that found that many successful and thriving rural communities all had six common traits.

The first two traits were having leadership that matters and a hopeful vision backed by grit, Schroeder said.

Communities like Eustis who refused to accept a United States Department of Agriculture study in the mid-1980s that said rural farms far from major roads would die off had leadership that mattered, he said.

Traits three and four were taking deliberate efforts to invite people to leadership posts who might not otherwise participate and not letting fear be a barrier to embracing change.

The last two traits were a willingness to invest in the community and having strong social networks, he said.

The RFI was all about building partnerships with government agencies, businesses, colleges and most importantly rural communities, Schroeder said.

“Howard Buffet, son of Warren, said we built this country from rural up. This (the work of RFI) is the most important thing being done today,” Schroeder said.

RFI has started 31 projects with more than 110 countries, 17 universities/colleges, 23 organizations and 12 government agencies, he said.

Notable projects started last year addressed: career development in rural communities, leadership in diverse communities and rural rotations for students in rural hospitals.

One innovative program started by RFI in 2013 is the Rural Community Serviceship Program. This program provides a nine-week internship for high-caliber college students to participate in a locally identified community improvement project at three or four rural communities with help from university staff.

“Students are given training in project management and strength based leadership through Gallup. At the end of each summer I usually get a call from community mentors who say they loved their students and ask for them to come back next year,” Schroeder said.

Students with the Rural Community Serviceship Program have created an entrepreneurship program for middle school students in Seward and have created a marketing program for the Willa Cather Foundation in Red Cloud.

Two other trend-setting programs pioneered by RFI are an informal network connecting young working professionals who live outside of Lincoln and Omaha called the Connecting Young Nebraskans and the creation of Rural Opportunity Fairs.

The rural opportunity fairs gather rural community representatives in need of young talent with young workers looking to work in rural areas.

For more information about programs offered through the Rural Futures Institute, visit

USDA Announces Funding for Distance Learning & Telemedicine Grants

Lincoln, NE January 19, 2016 – Agriculture Under Secretary for Rural Development Lisa Mensah announced on January 12, 2016 that USDA’s Rural Utilities Service (RUS) is soliciting applications for Distance Learning and Telemedicine (DLT) Grants for FY 2016.

Eligible applicants include most entities that provide education or health care through telecommunications, including:  most State and local governmental entities, Federally-recognized Tribes, Non-profits, For-profit businesses, and a consortia of eligible entities.

The Notice of Solicitation of Applications (NOSA) outlines that applications are due March 14, 2016.

There is a minimum grant amount of $50,000 and a maximum grant amount of $500,000 for eligible applicants. The grants, which are awarded through a competitive process, may be used to fund telecommunications-enabled information, audio and video equipment, and related advanced technologies which extend educational and medical applications into rural areas.

A few of the prior Nebraska recipients include:

  • Educational Service Unit (ESU) 2 in Fremont received $283,248 to improve educational opportunities for high school students and community members by offering distance education courses through an interactive videoconferencing system.
  • ESU #10 of Kearney received $126,989 to create a telecommunications infrastructure that supports distance learning for individuals residing in rural, isolated communities. Key project tenets included establishing a robust, cost-effective, reliable telecommunications infrastructure to support proposed distance learning activities; developing curriculum and classes in the areas of Elementary, Middle School and High School Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM); and increasing access to courses and curriculum not currently available at their sites.  The project also provides for access to advanced placement vocational training courses in the areas of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) as well as foreign language.
  • A Telemedicine recipient, CHI Health Good Samaritan in Kearney, received $155,041 to further expand the number of project partners and the type of services available through the Midwest Telehealth Network.

Details on how to apply can be found online at and on page 1388 of the January 12, 2016 Federal Register. USDA will publish on its website the total amount of DLT funding available for FY 2016.

For more information in Nebraska contact General Field Representative Roger Meeks at (402) 416-4936 or

President Obama’s plan for rural America has brought about historic investment and resulted in stronger rural communities. Under the President’s leadership, these investments in housing, community facilities, businesses and infrastructure have empowered rural America to continue leading the way – strengthening America’s economy, small towns and rural communities.

USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer. To file a complaint of discrimination, write: USDA, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights, Office of Adjudication, 1400 Independence Ave., SW, Washington, DC 20250-9410 or call (866) 632-9992 (Toll-free Customer Service), (800) 877-8339 (Local or Federal relay), (866) 377-8642 (Relay voice users).

Buffett Institute Launches New Program to Support Early Childhood Research at the University of Nebraska


Doctoral Students Eligible to Receive Annual Awards of $25,000 for Multidisciplinary Research

Omaha, Neb. — A new fellowship program announced today by the Buffett Early Childhood Institute at the University of Nebraska will provide financial support and mentoring for advanced doctoral students within the university system.

The Buffett Early Childhood Institute Graduate Scholars program will award 1- and 2-year grants—each worth up to $25,000 annually—to a maximum of four doctoral students every year. The program is designed to foster the growth of diverse, exceptional graduate students conducting research about young children and their families, with particular attention to children placed at risk as a consequence of poverty and social and environmental circumstances.

The Buffett Institute Graduate Scholars program is the first financial support program for doctoral students who have reached Ph.D. candidacy at the University of Nebraska that focuses on young children and their development.

“The University of Nebraska has made a remarkable commitment on an interdisciplinary level to advancing research on young children, and the Buffett Institute believes strongly in strengthening those efforts,” said Samuel J. Meisels, founding executive director of the Buffett Institute. “We look forward to supporting and collaborating with talented doctoral students and faculty on the campuses.”

Meisels said the Buffett Institute Graduate Scholars program is intended to reach across traditional higher education boundaries, supporting high-quality research from diverse fields that impact young children, including health, education, social work, music, art, the neurosciences, and others. Multi-disciplinary research and practice—particularly from disciplines not typically associated with the field of early childhood education—and new methodologies will be encouraged.

The Buffett Graduate Scholars will work with their faculty mentors on a dissertation that represents an in-depth exploration of early childhood issues. The Institute will create opportunities for graduate students and mentors to communicate, network, and collaborate with one another.

Letters of intent from applicants are due March 15, 2016, and full applications must be submitted by April 15, 2016. Announcement of the inaugural award winners will be made by the end of June 2016. To view the Buffett Institute Graduate Scholars Request for Proposal, visit

NCRCRD Webinars

The North Central Regional Center for Rural Development periodically sponsors or facilitates webinars to help connect rural development researchers and Extension professionals with each other and with stakeholder groups. The NCRCRD sponsored webinars are free and there is no registration.  All webinars are scheduled for Eastern Time.

To participate in the webinars go to: – log in as a Guest and Enter Room.


Building Community Capacity Through Strategic Planning

February 9, 2016  |  2:00 PM Eastern Time

To evaluate the extent to which Extension’s strategic planning practices vary across and within states, researchers from University of Illinois Extension and Ohio State University Extension conducted a series of investigative procedures to determine how, and with what groups, strategic planning is currently being executed; what procedures or components of procedures are being used, and if they are being used similarly throughout Extension; how outcomes are being measured; how data are collected, documented and shared; what materials are being used to facilitate strategic planning; and how to strengthen Extension’s role in empowering communities and organizations through strategic planning processes. Join us to learn what is happening and discuss ideas and directions for “what should be next” in strategic planning tools.

Anne H. Silvis, University of Illinois Extension, serves as Assistant Dean and Program Leader for Community and Economic Development. Anne’s work focuses on program development, planning, and helping communities and organizations manage conflict.

Becky Nesbitt, Ohio State University Extension, serves as an Assistant Professor and Educator in Community Development. Becky works with a variety of community organizations, elected officials, nonprofits, and businesses to help develop strategies to build capacity, improve effectiveness, and envision sustainability through organizational and leadership development.


Tribal Community Development Projects in the Great Lakes Regions

February 25, 2016  |  1:00 PM Eastern Time

Learn how Extension can do a better job in working with their Native communities and as concerned citizen’s involve the population in a more meaningful and creative way? This initiative provided three levels of training on community development; analysis, planning, and implementation. 

  • Lessons learned
  • Across state relationship
  • Next steps-report back to tribes and findings
  • Implementation in communities
  • How we are evaluating implementation from training perspective and our own implementation

Emily Proctor, MSW, BASW, earned her degrees from the Michigan State University- School of Social Work.  She is a citizen of the Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians, Harbor Springs, MI, and serves as a Tribal Extension Educator, Greening Michigan Institute for Michigan Tribal Communities, with her home office located in Emmet County, Michigan State University Extension.  As the Tribal Extension  Educator her projects include the development and delivery of educational programs in the areas of Tribal Governance, Gerontology, Diversity, and youth leadership.  She currently is a board member of the Michigan Indian Education Council.  She has also worked as a Child Protective Services Worker, as an associate Child welfare commissioner and was elected for the third time to be the Speaker of the Annual Community for her Tribal Nation. She enjoys making quilts as a way to contribute to her community.

Dawn Newman, MA, BS, joined University of Minnesota Extension as the regional director serving Northwest Minnesota in 2004. As a liaison for American Indian and Tribal Partnerships and Co-Chair of the American Indian Task Force, Dawn has helped to bring Extension volunteer and family programs to Minnesota’s American Indian Tribes. A trained facilitator, Dawn has convened community groups to identify needs for undeserved audiences through listening sessions, focus groups, appreciative inquiry, focused conversations and dialogues.

Brian Gauthier, BS earned his degree from the University of Wisconsin Stevens Point. After graduation he came home to Lac du Flambeau where currently he serves as the Community, Natural Resources, and Economic Development Educator and Department Head for the University of Wisconsin Cooperative Extension on the Lac du Flambeau Reservation. Brian also is the coordinator of Cooperative Extension’s Native American Taskforce covering. Brian’s programming focuses on natural resource education, organizational development and community planning. He is currently leading a strategic planning initiative for the Lac du Flambeau Tribe.


Visit for more information.

Global Teacher Fellowship Program

RTGF-LOGO-2011Applications for Rural Trust’s 2016 Global Teacher Fellowship Program are due January 30, 2016

The application deadline is quickly approaching!


Up to 25 fellowships will be awarded in 2016 to support the professional and personal development of rural teachers. The awards (up to $5,000 for individual teachers and $10,000 for a team of two or more teachers) support teachers’ participation in self-designed summer learning experiences and a two-day place-based learning institute in the fall.

This fellowship is a stand-alone grant not meant to supplement other grant funds for larger projects.

Teachers are encouraged to center their learning in an international travel and study experience, out of which they develop interdisciplinary, place-based learning curricula aligned with their specific state and local content standards.

Eligibility: Any K–12 teacher working full-time and teaching at least 60% time in a rural community can apply for the fellowship. Counselors, media specialists and other school personnel working in a teaching setting for at least 60% of their paid work time may also apply. Each applicant much have 4 years teaching experience by the fellowship start date.

The Rural Trust defines a rural community by National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) locale codes: 32 (Town, Distant); 33 (Town, Remote); 41 (Rural, Fringe); 42 (Rural, Distant); or 43 (Rural, Remote). If your school is listed in one of these locale codes, you are eligible to apply. If your school or district is REAP eligible, you may also apply. For more details on eligibility,see the FAQs page.

Visit the Rural Trust’s Global Teacher Fellowship website at
for additional details and application information.

Nebraska Rural Leadership Program

Recruitment for Leadership Development Program

The University of Nebraska-Omaha would like to invite you to participate in an exciting new virtual leadership development program. The Rural Futures Institute has sponsored this program in rural Nebraska to extend leadership development for emerging leaders in rural government, business, and civic organizations by collaborating with each other across the state. As a result, the University of Nebraska can offer you this exciting program at no charge to you.

Goals of Nebraska Rural Leadership Program

  1. Develop creative problem solving skills and interactional skills by sharing best practices across current and emerging rural leaders.
  2. Create a virtual platform for you to connect and collaborate with other leaders facing similar challenges across Nebraska. You will work in virtual teams on cases that have been developed for this program to deliberate, ask questions, share experiences and personal expertise to help build well-rounded leadership skills and gain greater confidence in taking on a leadership role.

Benefits for Participating

  1. Extend your professional network with other leaders in Nebraska.
  2. Develop leadership skills and increase your confidence to tackle the problems facing your community.
  3. Attend an end-of-program conference in Central Nebraska to meet other leaders and share your experiences with the Rural Future Institute.
  4. Earn a certificate of complete from the University of Nebraska at Omaha’s College of Business Administration.


  1. The program is targeted toward leaders who are relatively new to leadership positions. We are seeking those who have held few leadership positions and have had limited experience (up to 5 years) in leadership positions.
  2. The development program begins in December 2015 (alternative starting dates until February 2016 are available) and is 6 months long, finishing by August 2016.
  3. This will not be time intensive. You will spend about 3 hours per month dedicated to this program. Participation includes group discussions, readings, small assignments, and surveys.
  4. The time spent in this program is flexible and will be based on your own availability and schedule. We do, however, ask that you are able to commit to the entire six-month duration.


If you would like to sign up for this leadership development program, please send an email with your name, phone number and indicating your interest to Eric Scheller at We thank you in advance for your time and participation.

If you have any questions or concerns, please reach out to the study Principal Investigator, Dr. Roni Reiter-Palmon at

Best regards,
The RFI project team

University project personnel:
Roni Reiter-Palmon
Eric Scheller

Project sponsored by:
The University of Nebraska-Omaha
College of Arts and Sciences
Office of Academic and Student Affairs
Rural Futures Institute
Nebraska Extension