Crystal Dewey

Juvenile Services Manager

Family & Youth Involvement Center

Fairbury, Neb.

Graduate of Nebraska Wesleyan University
College of Social Work

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Focus: Workforce Development and Job Training

The students will focus on conducting a feasibility study to develop a job training program in partnership with the Fairbury Public School District and private sector employers to address labor shortages within Jefferson County. The goal is to graduate more high school seniors into career-ready or near career-ready positions in fields that have labor shortages throughout Nebraska. Projects will also address local housing gaps for high risk populations and clearly defined segments of housing shortages.

Students: Connor McFaydenEthan Weiche
Innovators: Crystal DeweyTwilya L’Ecuyer

Sponsored By: Fairbury Housing Authority

Crystal’s Nebraska Story

I am a born and raised rural southeast Nebraska girl! I grew up in the Crete area, and am currently living in Swanton and working in Fairbury. I earned my Bachelor’s Degree in Social Work from Nebraska Wesleyan University. Professionally, I manage the after-school program at the FYI Center in Fairbury. My main interest there is to help empower low-income and at-risk youth.

What do you hope to gain from this experience?

My desire is to help young people improve their lives, and help our community prosper. Too many small communities are shrinking, which makes it difficult to attract families. My hope is that we can help make small communities an attractive place for people to locate.

Why do you think it important community leaders have this type of experience in terms of inclusive leadership development?

I believe it is important for community leaders, business leaders, and organizations to come together to provide structure and guidance to our community. We have different perspectives and can each help tackle our community problems from a different angle. By working cooperatively, I believe we have a greater chance of success.

Why is this contribution of students from NU significant to you and your community?

I think that young, fresh eyes dedicated to the coordination of these efforts will make a big difference. Many of us see the problems in our community but don’t have the time to dedicate to fully focus on the situation. Having two students to help us with this would be great.

Why is rural important?

Nebraska’s small towns and rural areas have been diminished the last few decades due to the migration of people to the larger cities. This makes it difficult for these communities to thrive when they have a smaller tax base and employee pool. But I believe that these small communities are great places to live and raise families. They are also integral to our Nebraska landscape and way of life.